Harriet the Spy (Harriet the Spy #1) Harriet the Spy discussion


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Harriet the Spy is the most important book of my childhood

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message 1: by Pat (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:44AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat I carried around a black/white flecked notebook for two years because of this book.
I grew up in a mill town outside of Pittsburgh, and had NO IDEA of what a nanny was, and I STILL don't know how to pronounce Ole Golly's name.
I was Harriet, and I adored her in her insular chubby sweatshirt-wearing, eyeglass-toting, jeans-wearing self.
I wanted to be her, even when Janie was flipping on her and the Boy With Purple Socks suddenly took her place as the nerd who would be tolerated.
Louise Fitzhugh understood what it was like to be terrified and ostrasized and observant. She got me through my horrid childhood and I love her for "Harriet the Spy" and "The Long Secret."
Whomever the artist was, welldone to him or her.


message 2: by Silver (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Silver I'm right there with you two. Harriet became the quirky kid I wanted to be but probably didn't dare. I always felt as though I was right in the story with her. The same is true with The Long Secret. I just recently met a woman (old and rich) named Bunny. What book immediately came to mind?!

ps. the movie was a phenomenal disappointment


message 3: by RachelAnne (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

RachelAnne I also carried a Notebook everywhere for years after reading this book. I believed that Harriet's mistake lay not in having written what she did about her classmates--a writer must have integrity!--but in failing to prevent others from reading her notebook. So, I fitted a little 1/2" padlock to my cobalt-blue Mead composition book.


message 4: by Chicklet (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:05PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Chicklet My favorite part of this book is the story of why the boy with purple socks always wears purple socks - and I think of it whenever I see someone with purple socks. I also think his dad was cruel to make him wear them!


message 5: by John (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:06PM) (new)

John I was soooo excited recently to find "Sport" - the third book in the Harriet series. UGH! Apparently, Fitzhugh had submitted it, and it'd come back with substantial changes from the publisher. She put it away, and then she died (working on another Harriet-centered book). "Sport" was published a few years later to cash in on the posthumous Harriet boom; Harriet makes a couple of cameo appearances. Period.
As for the recent "sequel" to Harriet The Spy ... UGH doesn't even come close!


Anna One of the wonderful things about the internet:.finding people all over the world who loved Harriet The Spy as much as I did! As a gawky, bespectacled nine year-old growing up in London I felt like Harriet had been written just for me. I remember packing a notebook and toolbelt onto my trousers and scouting the neighbourhood for people like Agatha Plumber to spy on. I went on to read everything else Fitzhugh had written; I loved The Long Secret and Nobody's Family Is Going To Change just as much but Harriet will always have a special place in my heart. I wish Fitzhugh was still alive so she could know what a wonderful effect her books had on so many people's lives.


message 7: by Kimberly (new) - added it

Kimberly Me too! I pretended to be Harriet The Spy alllllllllll the time growing up and she helped me realize my dream to be a writer and I have kept at least 20 notebooks and journals because of her influence in my life. <3 I am working on a book and hopefully someday to get it published and I know I will acknowledge Fizhugh and Harriet The Spy as guidance. :)


message 8: by Matthew (last edited Mar 21, 2009 03:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew The book just freakin rules. I spied with an obsession bordering on the obsessive. That means a lot. And one of my best friends joined me so our classmates were kept in a constant state of paranoia. A few of them became republicans.
Best spying was hiding under my older sisters bed with notebook in hand. Sick. Thankfully nothing really wild ever happened, or id be sicker than i already am, maybe anyways.
SO: loved the book, lotta good memories, and i still have 3 or 4 journals I kept from those escapades back in 1977 or 8.
Trivia/aside: our awesome English teacher was none other than Cynthia Voigt, who later wrote her own books , mostly for young adults, and has won The Newberry award among other laudits.


Lisa Lute I still reread this book every year. Love it, love it, love it. Didn't even bother to watch the movie. I knew it couldn't compare. My mom pushed Are You There God, It's Me Margaret on me but I just wasn't having it. Harriet was my hero.
Some other books I loved from that era - Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack and The Teddy Bear Habit (or How I Became a Winner)


message 10: by John (new)

John The Harriet movie wasn't all that bad.

I read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret when I was in junior high - my mom got it as it was on my school's summer reading list; I had a lot of questions for her as I didn't really "get" parts of the story.


Hayley I got into this book mostly because of the movie. My grandmother's name is Harriet, so she had the movie lieing around for some reason and when I was eight, I read the book. I've had an obsession with composition notebooks ever since then, and I've even tried eating a tomato sandwhiche (too bad I hate tomatoes). Harriet the Spy transformed my childhood and got me started writing; a contribution that means as much to me as life.


message 12: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Lute John wrote: "The Harriet movie wasn't all that bad.

I read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret when I was in junior high - my mom got it as it was on my school's summer reading list; I had a lot of questions ..."


I was all annoyed with my mom for making ME read it. I was rather ummmmm, errr . . . well developed for 10 years of age and I guess she thought I'd learn a thing or two. The girls who were not as well-developed loved it.I can't even imagine a young boy reading it. I'll admit that it even made me laugh. However, at least you had a mom who knew what was on your summer reading list. As a teacher, I don't see many parents like her.

This thread has prompted me to start my yearly reread. Old Golly has just left the Welsch household. My mom called while I was reading today and laughed when she heard what I was reading. I still have my first and original copy of the book. It's over 30 years old.


Kressel Housman I was another notebook-carrier. But I couldn't get through the whole book when I was a kid. The loss of all her friends was just too heart-breaking.


Justin Difazzio Harriet the Spy is the reason I have notebooks filled with observations, thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Fitzhugh's book taught me that it's okay to write. She gave me permission to pick up a pen and spill my thoughts onto the page in a way I'd never felt allowed to do before. I return to this book once every few years, and over time it has only grown on me more and more. Time will never diminish the genius of this book and the promises held within its pages. I'm proud to call it my favorite book of all time.


Vanessa I'm still a notebook carrier. I was lead to read the book because of the movie. I haven't seen that movie in 15 years, but I still read the book every few years. I totally identified with Harriet and thought I was so bad for carrying my little notebook and being a Harriet wannabe.


Amanda To this day, I still have an obsession with composition notebooks because of this book! The first time I read it in 2nd grade, I wanted to be excactly like Harriet. Glasses-check. Notebook-check. Nanny-umm...how about a babysitter?


message 17: by willaful (new)

willaful Pat wrote: "Whomever the artist was, welldone to him or her. "

Do you mean the illustrator of the book? That was also Fitzhugh.

A friend of my moms was so obsessed with this book that she changed her name to Harriet. :-)

I love this, but actually identified more with The Long Secret and Nobody's Family Is Going to Change


message 18: by Lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lea LOVE THIS BOOK.

I cannot count how many times I read this book. It means SO much to me.

After I read it I tried carrying around my own notebook and spying :)

I wish I owned a copy so that I could read it again.

I must borrow it from the library immediately!


Jennifer One of my favourite books from childhood. Must get another copy just so I can wallow in all that nostalgia!


RachelAnne This is one of those books that made me wish I had worse (or at least less attentive) parents. I was so envious of Harriet's ability to wander around alone, not to mention in a place like NY. Trying to spy on people while being well-observed in a quiet suburb simply was not the same:
9AM subject leaves house (for nefarious purposes?)
9:05-9:53AM subject mows lawn
9:55 subject returns mower to shed, goes inside house.


Fallopia Pat wrote: " I carried around a black/white flecked notebook for two years because of this book.
I grew up in a mill town outside of Pittsburgh, and had NO IDEA of what a nanny was, and I STILL don't know ..."


Louise Fitzhugh was the illustrator (correct me if I'm wrong.)

I agree, this book was a huge influence on me; of course, I read it at an impressionable age.


message 22: by John (new)

John Yes, Fitzhugh was also the illustrator. Ole Golly is prnounced just like it looks ("Ole" as in "My ole lady" and "Golly" as in "Golly gee!")


message 23: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori when I was a kid this was one of my favorite books. i am glad it is still here for other kids to read.


Kressel Housman John wrote: "Yes, Fitzhugh was also the illustrator. Ole Golly is prnounced just like it looks ("Ole" as in "My ole lady" and "Golly" as in "Golly gee!")"

Are you sure it's not like the Spanish, "Ole!"


Heather Fineisen A true favorite and so glad my daughter loves it as much as I did. I, too carried a notebook around and have evolved to journaling throughout my life. I don't mind when my daughter "spies" on me, as she usually writes--Mom is reading again.


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