Around the World in 80 Books discussion

Heidi
This topic is about Heidi
74 views
Group Reads Discussions > Discussion for Heidi

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane | 12911 comments Start discussion here for Heidi by Johanna Spyri.


message 2: by Diane, Armchair Tour Guide (last edited Jun 14, 2016 08:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane | 12911 comments "Heidi is by far the most popular piece of Swiss literature ever written and has been translated from German into 50 languages, been filmed more than a dozen times, and more than 50 million copies of Heidi books have been sold world-wide (Switzerland's population is only 7 million)." - freehomeschoollessons.com


Janice (JG) | 14 comments I read this as a child, and it has always been a wonderful memory. I'm about 3/4 of the way through, and I am delighted that it is even more interesting than I remembered. I'm also finding it very interesting to note some of the philosophy in this book, because I think it had a great influence on me as a child, that has lasted.


Rosemarie | 3072 comments I am also enjoying this book. The way that her aunt lies to Heidi when she basically kidnaps from her home on the alm is wrong, but true to human nature. She is doing something wrong so she tries to justify her actions by her lies. Heidi is being treated like an object, not a human being. I can just picture all the gossips of the village discussing the event for days. And my heart goes out to the lonely old grandfather and the blind grandmother.


Laurie | 627 comments I didn't read this as a child and absolutely that is when one should read it. I read it this past January and while I enjoyed the story, it was much too saccharine for me. Heidi was just so good. Her only misbehavior came at the beginning as a precocious five year old and later as a kind of clueless eight year old in Frankfurt. She was always so good and sweet and loving. I didn't want her to be bad, but I did want her to be more believable as a child. So a little bit of naughtiness would have been a nice change.

And I thought that Clara's physical recovery was rather overdone. Rather than needing the miraculous water at Lourdes for her cure, she just needed the miracle air of the Swiss mountains.


Janice (JG) | 14 comments Laurie wrote: "I didn't read this as a child and absolutely that is when one should read it. I read it this past January and while I enjoyed the story, it was much too saccharine for me. Heidi was just so good. H..."

Probably because Spyri was writing this in the style of a (long) fairy tale, the characters are necessarily rather two-dimensional. Unlike most fairy tales, however, there is never really something dangerous or threatening to overcome... unless you count being dragged from her home to live in a strange environment among strange people, and being heartbreakingly homesick. Most everybody has probably experienced something similar in their lives.

I enjoyed the attitude Clara's grandmother brought into the story, and I think some of her advice stuck with me as a child and has affected me into adulthood. Such as (view spoiler)


Rosemarie | 3072 comments I am reading this in German for the first time. As a girl I read it in English, so it is a different experience this time. Heidi reads the hymns to th blind grandmother and recites them to the doctor, and I wonder how they were translated. The meaning may have been similar, but the feelings evoked may be different. I am enjoying the book this time as much as the first time I read it.
It is interesting how the villagers changed their attitude to the grandfather so quickly, but the here mentality does work that way sometimes. It certainly helped that the pastor of the church responded so positively.


Missy J (missyj333) | 209 comments I also didn't read this as a child, but I remember watching a Japanese cartoon version of Heidi. While I was reading the novel, images of that cartoon kept flashing back to me, even though I haven't seen that cartoon in 20 years!
I also think some children's books are best read when one is a child. As an adult, so much magic gets lost. But I still managed to enjoy the story.


Laurie | 627 comments I enjoyed it too, but I can see that I probably would have liked it more if I had read it as a child since I would have been less critical. But it is a classic worth reading regardless of the point in life that one reads it.


Tania | 311 comments I read Heidi as a child - it was a favorite of mine - and for this discussion reread it as an adult. It's always held a place on my bookshelves, and it is as good as I remember it being. What I didn't remember is how much good advice it contained. I think it's a lovely story for kids to read, and for adults to revisit. It's one of the most enjoyable classics, in my opinion, exactly because of the positive overtones. Personally I think it's nice that there isn't any imminent threat for Heidi to overcome, other than homesickness. She represents the idea that we can persevere through bad circumstances and hold onto our faith even when it seems that God is not listening. The one thing that took me out of the story a bit was how suddenly the town changed it's opinion - a more gradual turn would have felt more realistic, but I think it was the author's way of showing how people will follow the masses and are unlikely to think for themselves.


Janice (JG) | 14 comments Tania wrote: "I read Heidi as a child - it was a favorite of mine - and for this discussion reread it as an adult. It's always held a place on my bookshelves, and it is as good as I remember it being. What I did..."

Yes, well said. I agree completely.


message 12: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim | 4 comments Rosemarie wrote: "The way that her aunt lies to Heidi when she basically kidnaps from her home on the alm is wrong, but true to human nature. She is doing something wrong so she tries to justify her actions by her lies. Heidi is being treated like an object, not a human being."

Yes, her aunt's mistreatment was striking to me, too (though, I'm sure many people thought it okay to treat children this way back then, and now, too, I'm sure).

For more of my thoughts on this book, see my comments (messages 41 and 42) on this thread here:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Describing the book as saccharine is fair, I think, but I like stories like that from time to time, like Little Women. While the religious message doesn't resonate with me, I still believe in human goodness and many of the ethical viewpoints expressed.

See my comments in the other group for discussion on the treatment of animals, etc. (feel free to reply to me here or there, doesn't matter to me).


Janice (JG) | 14 comments Thank you for your link to the other discussion about Heidi, Kim. Scrolling a little more than a third of the way down the page, there is also an excellent post by Kerstin that compares this book to an allegory... very insightful.


message 14: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim | 4 comments Janice(JG) wrote: "Thank you for your link to the other discussion about Heidi, Kim. Scrolling a little more than a third of the way down the page, there is also an excellent post by Kerstin that compares this book t..."

Yes, that comment stood out for me as well! She points out things I hadn't really noticed / thought about while reading the book. :)


back to top

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

Heidi (other topics)
Little Women (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Johanna Spyri (other topics)