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The Little Friend
Donna Tartt
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The Little Friend

3.42  ·  Rating Details  ·  29,383 Ratings  ·  2,836 Reviews
The hugely anticipated new novel by the author of The Secret History --"an elegant, edifying work of art" (Entertainment Weekly), an international best-seller, and one of the most astonishing debuts in recent times.In a small Mississippi town, Harriet Cleve Dusfresnes grows up haunted by the murder of her brother, who was found hanging from a tree in their yard when she wa ...more
Published by Alfred A. Knopf (first published October 22nd 2002)
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Cecile Perez It's not meant to be a thriller, it's all about memory,the past,the re creation of the past and the vivid imagination of a twelve year old.
I loved the…more
It's not meant to be a thriller, it's all about memory,the past,the re creation of the past and the vivid imagination of a twelve year old.
I loved the open ending.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Barry Pierce
The only thing keeping this novel together is the binding.
Jun 24, 2008 Leslie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2008 tee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
Currently reading this one and all I can think of is a passage from a writing-fiction manual that I read. The guy who wrote the article said that he once wrote a whole book and his publisher told him that it was good back-story, it was good for the AUTHOR to get to know his characters so when he wrote about them - they'd be 3D and real but it wasn't necessary for the readers to know most of the stuff that was written. You can remove a lot of the bulk from that first draft and keep it to yourself ...more
Jul 25, 2007 Tina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers
I sort of want to scream when I read lukewarm reviews of this book. Admittedly, people may get the wrong idea when they read the back jacket, or the first few pages, and anticipate some sort of murder mystery thrill.
The death of Harriet's brother is merely background for her character. The skill with which Tartt explores the inner workings and thought processes of a virtually abandoned 12 year old girl whose older brother's murder has never been solved cannot be praised highly enough. Tartt seem
Oct 20, 2008 Madeline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ugh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oh, Harriet, you poor dear.

Twelve and a half, homely and unpopular. The girl with the antique-sounding name and possessor of an "old soul." She has a gruff, common sense approach to life that eschews flattery and wins her few fans among her peers and relatives.

In vain, the aunts tried to teach her to be polite. "But don't you understand, darling," said Tat, "that if you don't like the fruitcake, it's better to eat it anyway instead of hurting your hostess's feelings?"

"But I don't like fruitcake
Lord Beardsley
Oct 28, 2007 Lord Beardsley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of third-rate knockoff Southern Gothic
Shelves: read2007
I gave this book three stars only because of the author's ability to use mood, setting, and descriptive in an incredibly amazing way. However, this book was the biggest cocktease ever. Chekhov once said that if a gun is laying on the table in the first scene it had better be fired by the last. I firmly believe this, but Ms. Tartt seems not to. Oh well. It just seems that if you begin a book with a nine-year-old boy hanging dead from a tree, and the entire plot is driven from this, something shou ...more
Oct 10, 2015 Maxwell rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-it, 2015
Well, that was a huge disappointment. I had heard this was generally the least loved of Donna Tartt's novels, but I went into it expecting to like it a bit more than most because I adore her work. But no, sadly this was a big letdown. Overall this book just left me very confused. How did she go from such an atmospheric, well-written novel as The Secret History to this? And then to come up with the masterpiece, The Goldfinch? I just don't get how she is the same author of this book.

The writing
Lauren Lastrapes
Apr 29, 2007 Lauren Lastrapes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Universe
This is such a great novel. I read it a few years ago, I think it was in 2004, I don't really remember now, but I know it was before I separated from Fabio since during the separation process I only read books by Chris Bojalian and books that Lauren mailed me. She didn't mail me The Little Friend, but I'm sure it is she who recommended it. Just last night, I was talking with my friend Jenna about this book (which I convinced her to read, and which she is reading now) and we were cracking up over ...more
Edward Lorn
Jun 06, 2015 Edward Lorn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Edward by: Gottwals Books
Shelves: 52-in-52-2014
I pride myself on my ability to change, to adapt, and to admit when I'm wrong. Though I am not changing the star rating (the book still bored me to tears) I will fully admit that I somehow missed who the titular little friend actually was. I'm not covering up my mistake by editing the review. I am simply adding this note at the beginning. The cover is still, in my most honest opinion, complete garbage.

Donna Tartt's sophomore effort has probably the worst cover and title out of all the books I've
Juli Pennock
Review to come, I'm still a bit flabbergasted...

Killed the life out of me. Just gorgeous, I loved it. I hate the word "evocative," because it seems terribly pretentious…like “terribly pretentious” doesn’t sound pretentious at all, jeez, but this book is that. Evocative. Powerful, deep and dark, fascinating, poetic, and just overall beautifully written.

Harriet is a firecracker, a pistol, a "trip." She's so completely herself and so completely relatable, it's almost eery. My childhood was nothing
Dec 29, 2015 Lyubov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Понякога смятам, че очакванията (каквито и да са те) могат да съсипят удоволствието от дадена книга, от друга страна обаче те биха могли дори да задълбочат самото изживяване. Аз имах тонове информация за „Малкият приятел” на Дона Тарт, но с немалко усилие на волята и самодисциплина се опитах да подходя към книгата с чисто съзнание, до колкото това изобщо беше възможно.

Романът се чете бавно и то не само заради своя обем. Никога не съм разбирала читателите, които не смеят да посегнат към дадена кн
Jan 22, 2008 Patrick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2003
Donna really screws the pooch on this one. She makes a very likeable character, a smart, precocious little girl in a small country town who makes enemies with a group of meth-heads while trying to solve the mystery of her 9-year-old brother's hanging when she was a baby, and turns it into a 576-page snoozefest. I eventually had to go to a library miles away and check out the audio version so I didn't have to waste my precious eyesight reading it. I read this one review where the person said they ...more

(Full disclosure: book abandoned at page 226 [out of 555 pages].)

The Little Friend starts strong, with distinct, even lovable characters--and protagonist Harriet is the most interesting of all--but 141 pages in, it loses its footing. Readers should be forewarned that despite The Little Friend’s summary, this isn’t a murder mystery. The mysterious murder is a background concern, a persistent nagging on the edge of twelve-year-old Harriet’s consciousness. The story is really about
Jan 24, 2015 Francisco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of Tartt's earlier books published before her acclaimed The Goldfinch. The same complexity and richness of character, the same explosion of detail that makes The Goldfinch so memorable can be found in a slightly less orderly way. Less orderly in the sense that this book didn't quite have the tight narrative structure where there is little that is told that is not important to the story. This book could have lost fifty or so pages without it affecting the plot line. But who cares, rea ...more
Mar 30, 2014 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ponderous and immersive

This novel starts slowly and never really picks up speed. The author's ability to draw the reader into the scenes and lives of the characters, however, makes this a worthwhile read. The characters are well developed and realistic- quirky and original. Their insights into life are often fascinating and engaging.
I liked the way I simply forgot about time when the author drew me in, and although the plot moved forward slowly (even sideways sometimes) the setting and situation
Aug 06, 2014 Allison rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED The Secret History. I do not love this. Elegant prose can only keep a reader for so long. I imagine that many people, me included, do not want a 10 page description of two troubled twentysomething doing crystal meth and getting sunburnt in the middle of July. I actually made the 200 page mark. With the potential of more sweaty boys on drugs in the next 400 pages, I put the book down and re-read The Secret History instead.
May 22, 2016 JerryB rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, re-read
Sometimes, I do believe, one's expectations can completely ruin a book for a person. On the other hand, expectations can only infrequently enhance one's experience of a book. It took me three attempts, years apart, to get through The Little Friend ... but it was worth it! A wonderful book, and a unique heroine, young Harriet. Just read patiently and you will be richly rewarded. At first I wanted to give this book 4 stars ... actually more like 4.4 because I'd "rounded down" to 4 ... but then som ...more
B the BookAddict
Jun 28, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: me, aren't I clever

The really bad news about this book is that I have finished it!

The really good news is that it goes straight into my bury me with this book bookshelf.

An absolute busting-out-of-itself 5
Христо Блажев
Малкият приятел не е вечен приятел:

Ясно е, че се радваме на излизането на по-ранния роман на Дона Тарт (2002 г.) заради фурора, който направи окичената с “Пулицър” тухличка “Щиглецът”. Тя превзе доста пространство по рафтовете на библиотеките, както и доста от читателското внимание, до голяма степен заслужено (само заради липсата на суперлативи ще си отнеса боя от няколко луди нейни фенки, но нейсе). Хубаво е, че висока литература излиза все повече у нас
Andrew Smith
Mar 24, 2016 Andrew Smith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-finished
I had really enjoyed the author's other books but I just didn't get on with this one. Maybe it's the type of story - a family saga focused on the apparent suicide of a young boy - but it just didn't speak to me. Well, actually it did as I was listening to the audio version... but there's another issue, the narrator was as bland as the prose. Sleep inducing. Almost literally, actually.

I've read some mixed reviews of the book but I know that some readers really liked it and I therefore fear I may
Jan 10, 2016 Boris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Малкият приятел" е първото заглавие, което чета, написано от Дона Тарт. Покрай "Щиглецът" съм чувал какви ли не коментари за Дона Тарт, повечето от които представляваха критики към обема и многословието й. Във връзка с това имам няколко впечатления от "Малкият приятел", които обясняват защо е многословна и защо това, в случая, качество трябва да бъде ценено, а не критикувано.

Дона Тарт е страхотен разказвач в перспектива. В "Малкият приятел" има дузина герои и това, което тя успява да изгради с
May 08, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book over a week ago but I had to think about what I wanted to say. It was just the sort of book I have been yearning for, one you can't put down and when you do you have to sort of remind yourself to return to the real world and set the characters aside when called away to, you know, work or eat. I read her other book, The Secret History, many years ago and remember liking it enough but I found The Little Friend to be much more at every level.

The author's voice is a character in
Ruth Turner
Nov 11, 2014 Ruth Turner rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned


This book was so slow, and so boring that at times I struggled to stay awake.

It's overly descriptive, with long-winded sentences. One marathon effort was 12 lines long. I had to read it 3 times to make any sense of it.

I didn’t really get a feel for any of the characters, except Harriet. I had trouble telling her aunties apart, except for Edie. And her mother and her sister were bland and uninteresting.

Harriet, searching for goals for her life, decides to train herself, like Houdini, to hold h
This book offers both a mystery story and intense character portrayal. I enjoyed tremendously the character portrayal aspect, less so the mystery story. The mystery directs the plot and adds suspense. Harriet, a twelve-year old living in Alexandria, Mississippi, during the 70s, has decided she must solve the mystery of who killed her brother, Robin. He was nine at his death, she only a few months old. All she knows is what she has been told. How reliable is that information? For me there are plo ...more
A lot of people are hard on this book, and I agree with most of the criticism.
But I still gave it three stars.
Tartt’s novel after this one, The Goldfinch, is one of my favorite books of all time, and I think that she needed to write The Little Friend in order to learn how to write The Goldfinch.
Both are about kids that suffer a deep loss and never really recover and both are larger-than-life, epic stories.
Actually, the connection is even more basic. Both novels are about how people survive,
Apr 10, 2008 Stacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: southern gothic fans, fans of slow pacing, fans of character development
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 25, 2009 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For two weeks, I breathed and slept this book. I was reminded of Joyce Carol Oates, We were the Mulvaney's--specifically due to character development. I remember being in awe for most of We Were the Mulvaney's--the characters, and there were many, were just...intensely developed. I read a lot, and these characters were the stuff of real life: diverse, with nicknames, private histories and nuances. This novel, in the tradition of Oates, managed the same feat. Carson McCullers is in there, too--wi ...more
Nov 13, 2015 Panagiotis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Έπιασα τον μικρό φίλο με διάθεση να λύσω το μυστήριο της Ντόνα Ταρτ. Ποιο ακριβώς; Με τρία βιβλία στο ενεργητικό της, όλα τους ογκωδέστατα, και με το καθένα να μετρά δέκα χρόνια συγγραφής η Ταρτ έχει φτιάξει γύρω της μια ασαφή δημιουργική αύρα. Πέραν του τιτάνιου όγκου τους, δεν είναι εύκολο να πει κανείς γιατί χρειάστηκαν τόσο πολύ για να γραφτούν αυτά τα βιβλία. Έχει κάτι το ύφος τους που παραπλανά. Η γλώσσα είναι άμεση και την ίδια στιγμή περίπλοκη - οι φράσεις της, συνήθως, ούτε κοφτές, ούτε ...more
Jason Alexander
Apr 24, 2016 Jason Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though this is a book that has it's roots firmly lodged in a tragic murder, this is not a thriller, this is not to be read with the expectation of a linear murder mystery, this is a haunting coming of age tale; a Southern Gothic take on a twelve-year-old's summer vacation.

But Robin: their dear little Robs. More than ten years later, his death remained an agony; there was no glossing any detail; its horror was not subject to repair or permutation by any of the narrative devices that the Cleves k
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Donna Tartt (born 23 December 1963) is an American writer who received critical acclaim for her first two novels, The Secret History (1992) and The Little Friend (2002). Tartt was the 2003 winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend.

The daughter of Don and Taylor Tartt, she was born in Greenwood, Mississippi but raised 32 miles away in Grenada, Mississippi. At age five, she wrote h
More about Donna Tartt...

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“Even if it meant that she had failed, she was glad. And if what she'd wanted had been impossible from the start, still there was a certain lonely comfort in the fact that she'd known it was impossible and had gone ahead and done it anyway.” 52 likes
“The possible, as it was presented in her Health textbook (a mathematical progression of dating, "career," marriage, and motherhood), did not interest Harriet. Of all the heroes on her list, the greatest of them all was Sherlock Holmes, and he wasn’t even a real person. Then there was Harry Houdini. He was the master of the impossible; more importantly, for Harriet, he was a master of escape. No prison in the world could hold him: he escaped from straitjackets, from locked trunks dropped in fast rivers and from coffins buried six feet underground.

And how had he done it? He wasn’t afraid. Saint Joan had galloped out with the angels on her side but Houdini had mastered fear on his own. No divine aid for him; he’d taught himself the hard way how to beat back panic, the horror of suffocation and drowning and dark. Handcuffed in a locked trunk in the bottom of a river, he squandered not a heartbeat on being afraid, never buckled to the terror of the chains and the dark and the icy water; if he became lightheaded, for even a moment, if he fumbled at the breathless labor before him– somersaulting along a river-bed, head over heels– he would never come up from the water alive.

A training program. This was Houdini’s secret.”
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