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Little Miss Strange

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  367 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A captivating portrait of the free-love, hippie world of Denver in the 1970s, brought to life in the pitch-perfect voice of a girl who scams and scavenges her way through childhood, carving her own identity and creating her own family along the way.In her acclaimed debut novel, Joanna Rose brilliantly evokes a tumultuous era in our history and introduces an unforgettable h ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 10th 1998 by Touchstone (first published January 4th 1997)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  367 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Sian Lile-Pastore
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this so much and was pretty sad when it ended. I don't even know why I adored it so... it's quite slow paced and not much happens (am happy with that), but it really resonated with me and the world Joanna Rose created just seemed so incredibly real - I particularly liked her descriptions of the homes, interiors and shops. I also liked the way that it was told from the eyes of the child, and told in such a way that the reader became aware of things that the child narrator didn't know (and ...more
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I stumbled across this book completely by accident. I was looking online for books about hippies (for an upcoming Writer's Craft school project), and I came across Little Miss Strange. I actually had to order it online because no nearby bookstore had it. It was a pain to find, especially on a time limit, but it was one of the only ones that I thought would work for me.

I can safely say that finding this book was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I don't quite know why it hit me like i
Elizabeth Gibbs
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Found this book when I was 12 on a shelf in an old diner off a rarely driven highway in the mountains. They told me $2. I bought it because of the tie dye cover. I have read this book every year since then and I always find something new. It speaks to me in ways I can't explain. Just a wonderful story. ...more
I remember noticing the ultra cool cover for this book as I walked past it at the famous Square Books in Oxford, MS, years ago. I knew I had to have it as soon as I read the back cover. If you've ever felt cheated because you missed out on the early seventies, or if you’re fascinated by the hippy lifestyle, here's your chance to experience it for yourself. Although the novel’s main character Sarajean is too young to directly know the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll of the era, she sees the effects ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-faves
I could cry right now! I read this book a long time ago and could not remember the title or author! I searched all over and posted it and got no response. I just found someone else who was searching for the same book and he remembered the title! I loved this book so much! I think about it all the time. I love the little girl, the era, the characters. She was like a hippie version of Scout from Mockingbird. The super flawed father figure was heartbreaking.
Liz Minette
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh - great writing, great story - would make a great movie. I have passed this book along to family & they to their friends & we all say the same thing, how much this book & the main character, Sarajean Henry, her story, stayed with us afterwards. All the characters are memorable and this book has prompted much discussion among same family & friends
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book-- didn't want it to end. ...more
I could identify with this book simply because it was set in the same hippie era that I grew up in, as well as the fact that I lived very much the way the authors' subject was portrayed to have grown up.

Was a time when parenting values seemed to be less than important and a lot of us had to 'grow up' on our own. was also refreshing to be reminded that not all of us fell through the cracks of the '70's

A simply amazing book
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Seeing the '70s through Sarajean's child eyes was very interesting. I read this before I was even old enough to understand most of the references so I pick it up every few years and realize something new each time. Great read. ...more
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is very "one of a kind" and is a great respite from books with heavy, dark subjects. The protagonist, Sarahjean Henry, is a kindergartener as the book begins in 1969 and follows her and her family/community for 8 years. For me, being a kindergartener in 1971, I recall being aware of "the hippie house" by my childhood home, but lived a very traditional life -- Sarahjean's world IS "the hippie house" and her story is heartwarming and a beautiful example of how we all can have families of ...more
Feb 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Joanna Rose is wonderful. When I worked at a middle school in Tigard she came to a Community of Writer's event and worked with 6th graders for several weeks on poetry writing. I had the opportunity to attend the class and participate with Ms. Flores and her students. What an honor! I still remember the writing prompts and have them in a journal I still refer to. Ms. Rose is a beautiful writer. ...more
Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Being a child of the 70s, born in 1969 to young, naive, and thoroughly unqualified parents, I totally related to Sarajean and saw myself in her world of no structure or boundaries, where hippie kids are left to fend for themselves. Written by the friend of a friend and set in Denver, not far from where I once lived.
Dec 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A Dangerous Writer Joanna Rose writes with stunning detail and subtext. Open to any page and you will find beautiful descriptive prose. This book follows a girl without a mother who lives with a man who is a typical hippie. In Portland, where the author lives, they were using the book in a school and a group tried to ban it. This book rocks and is a slow and enjoyable read.
Darla Frey
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A story of a love child and her own account of her life. Truly amazing.
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love this book and reading it again for the third time. It depicts a very creative relaxed time were things were simpler and rampant materialism didn't exist. It is one of my treasure books. ...more
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book was ok but the ending was very unsatisfying!!!
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Little Miss Strange
by Joanna Ross
3.5 / 5.0

Ever wonder what it's like growing up in a hippie family, in 1969 Denver with peace, free-love and lots of drug abuse?

Little Miss Strange, Sarajean Henry, grew up in such a family- mostly left to wander and entertain herself. Its enriching to see the community watch out for her and give her safe places to be. By 10, Sarajean was smoking weed, hanging out with Elle (whose real name is Lalena, but when she was told it meant where, she changed
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is the fictionalized autobiography of a woman who grew up in the early '70s Denver hippie scene in a house RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE SAFEWAY I GO TO EVERY COUPLE OF DAYS (which makes it especially weird in a personal way). Every time I go to that Safeway now, I look at the houses across the street and wonder which one the book's narrator, Sarajean Henry, or Blumenthal, grew up in. Here's a story--I was waiting for the bus in Cherry Creek yesterday, and the glazed old man who's s ...more
Emily Yelencich
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
A coming of age story in Denver. A pretty interesting story from the first person. Child's POV made it a more captivating story than it would have been otherwise. Details were slightly opaque giving it the quality of mystery at times as Sarajean navigates her non-traditional life. I appreciated the independence of Sarajean and the moral and ethical compass that seemed inherent in her character. I'm not sure if the foil of "Elle" is exactly realistic, it's pretty binary. I guess in real childhood ...more
Jul 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Okay, a bit of a story here: i bought this book when i was 12--the very first time i went into a barnes and nobles. not a book for a 12 year old. it sat on my shelf, with its colorful tie-dye cover for quite a few years. i finally read it in 10th grade, at 16...good thing too, because only then was i emotionally prepared for this novel.

the novel is first-person narrative and tells the story of a young girl from the time she was 5 to her teens in the late 1960s and 1970s and all that entails whil
Oct 25, 2010 rated it liked it
This coming-of-age story was really important to me as a teenager who really, desperately wanted to embrace the sort of freewheeling lifestyle embodied by the main character and the loose circle of adults that surrounded her. As is the case with many of those Very Important Things from adolescence, it felt cliched when I reread it at 24.

Other reviewers have commented on the clarity of the child narrator's observations - it's been 12-13 years since I first read Little Miss Strange, but I have cle
Oct 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like to copy quotes from the books I read that stand out to me as what the book means.

"Little Miss Strange came out of the darkness...
Danced across my head and stood under the light"
Jimi Hendrix
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book so many times. I just finished it again! ...more
Annie Carrott Smith
A mesmerizing stream of consciousness through the eyes of a 70’s tween whose Mom disappeared, a John Doe dad and a Vietnam Vet who takes her under his wing. A rough tale of those who experienced the ugly parts of life way too early. Very descriptive and the characters were wonderful and made it all work.
Andrea Badgley
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of those quiet, graceful books in which the author manages to expose the beauty in simple, ordinary, everyday life. Ironically, as this is a story of a child of love children, set in Denver, CO in the 1960s and 70s, the book is down to earth even as it tells the story of Sarajean, daughter of a heroin junkie mother who drifted away to be free, and living with a man, Jimmy Henry, who may or may not be her father. Seen through the eyes of a young girl who knows no other kind of life, t ...more
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
I've had this one from Kimber for a very long time. With Nikki's impending graduation, and opportunity to return some books to Kimber, I thought I'd finally get to this one. I think there is a reason it sat on my borrowed book pile for a very long time! The one thing I really liked about this book is that it took place in Denver. It is a coming-of-age story of a young woman making her way in the world surrounded by hippies, poverty, Viet Nam veterans, and drugs. I loved the value of the neighbor ...more
This is a growing-up story, set in the 70s as the flower child era waned, of a little girl who was abandoned by her mother. It reads like a memoir, and I loved its many sharp and original descriptions of what the child observed and felt. The book moves forward simply, organized in dated chapters as the child grows. It comes to a clunky end as the protagonist runs off searching for her mother and answers. Overall, not a great book, but often beguiling, quite a bit sad without being maudlin, and m ...more
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was a well-written book about a time and place that are meaningful to me, but damn, it was boring as shit. I kept waiting for something to happen, waiting for something to click, and it just didn't for me. I enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first, but mostly I just wanted it to be over so I could read something more compelling. ...more
Jessie Pollard
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love the time period of this novel, and the distant voice of the narrator. The characters are all very fresh and interesting,with obvious flaws and discreet niceties. A good summer read, but in my opinion the beginning is so much better than the ending.
Feb 06, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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