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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Book 41/100: Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Heidi - Johanna Spyri

Around the Year Reading Challenge Item #12: A Childhood Classic

3.5

This was almost a four-star book for me. I kept being torn between my genuine enjoyment of the setting and characters and my "objective" observations about the strength of the story.

On the one hand, I found Heidi to be an easy, charming read. It was lovely to be carried away to Heidi's idyllic home in the mountains and to see the way her presence seemed to awaken the love of all those around her. Having grown up on the movie "Heidi's Song," I was disappointed that more of the book didn't take place in Frankfurt -- Heidi's journey from being an "outsider" to finding her way back home happened far too easily and mostly came at the hands of well-meaning adults who perceived her sadness and rescued her. This made for an overall lack of tension throughout the book, and it meant Heidi did not have to grow particularly as a character, even though the version I read lauds it as a "great coming of age" story.

It's also all extremely romanticized -- everyone loves Heidi, she suffers no ill effects from being dumped at her grandfather's place at age 5, she immediately takes to life on the mountain, she adores everyone she meets, everyone adores her, etc. This is the sort of thing that would make me want to vomit in most books, but something about the simplicity and guilelessness with which this story was written made it all go down a lot more easily. Ultimately, I liked spending time in Heidi's world, finding great joy in the simple things, like a good glass of goat's milk or a sunset over the mountains ...  even if you'll never convince me that this alone is enough to allow a wheelchair-bound girl to walk.