Nathaniel Irvin's Reviews > Heidi

Heidi by Johanna Spyri
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's review
Mar 02, 2012

liked it

This book is so sugary-sweet it'll make your teeth hurt, but in a good way.

There were a couple of things that stick in my mind about this book. One, Heidi is a rather impossibly angelic child. It makes for a cute story, but after a while it starts to wear a little thin. Not enough to turn you off to the plot, but it gets a tad tiresome by the end.

Secondly, I was surprised (and pleased) by the amount of religious content woven into the plot. Heidi's time spent in Frankfurt (the big city) is very much a tale of spiritual awakening, of taking a 'journey through the wilderness'. She enters a hostile environment, cut off from her friends and family, but while traveling through this dark and dreary waste, she comes to know God and realize where one's true priorities, trust, and ambitions should lie. Anyone who ever's read scriptures or other religious literature will recognize this motif/plot from thousands of stories, both fact and fiction.

Lastly, it was very interesting to note how this book is not a story from Heidi's point of view, but rather a story about how the adults in her life see her and interact with her. It makes me wonder if this is a feature of the age in which it is written: was 'children's literature' in the Victorian Age more literature written for adults about children, and it's only in modern times that children's literature has become literature from the child's point of view? Or has children's literature always been from both points of view, and this book just happens to be more from the adults' side of things?

All in all I liked this book, and it was an easy read. Honestly, it could have been shorter and done just as well, as there was a lot of re-treading the same ideas. Still, it deserves its place among the classics.
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