Harriet the Spy, Week 2

Welcome to the Week 2 discussion of Harriet, the Spy.

Did you all read this book when you were younger, or is this your first time reading? I read the book often when I was younger, but I haven't read through it for probably 25 years. So, it's been really fun rediscovering a book that I really enjoyed as a child! It's funny how many of the scenes and lines I remembered so vividly. 

What do you think about Harriet in this first section? Do you think she's a very likeable character? She definitely knows her own mind and isn't afraid to be true to herself. What about Sport? I think he's a sad character since it seems like he has to be the grownup at home. I think Janie is terrifying. I really think she would blow up her house if she felt like it would be a good experiment. Finally, how do you feel about Ole Golly? She's very mysterious, but it's evident that she loves Harriet a lot and is a very dependable person in Harriet's life. 

The beginning of the book is so interesting to me. I remember feeling like the game Harriet was playing at the beginning was really cool. I used to love playing pretend like that when I was a little girl. It's interesting that she was able to play pretend with a pretend town without having any dolls or toys. I can't believe she was able to keep all of those details together without having physical objects to play with. I guess she wouldn't be able to keep things straight if she didn't have her notebook!

Why do you think it started with Ole Golly taking the kids to see her mom? That was really interesting. It definitely showed the kids a different way of life, but I kind of wished there was more of an explanation about why Ole Golly's mom was the way she was and how Ole Golly was able to become the woman she became. What did you think of that scene? Do you think it matched with the rest of the section? 

I think it's great that Harriet is engaged in the world around her and is so observant, but some of her observations are not very flattering. I know she expects her thoughts to stay private, but still, it's amazing that she felt so comfortable expressing all of her observations in such a way. Do you think the other kids at school have any idea what Harriet thinks of them? I don't think they do. At least they don't treat her with open disdain like I imagine they would if they knew what she thought of them. 

What do you think of her spy route? I really can't believe she feels comfortable spying on people in that way. What did you think when she got in a dumbwaiter to spy on Agatha Plumber? I think that was definitely crossing a line. I feel like all of these stops on her route are like a reality show for her. She gets to see how other people live on a daily basis. I wonder if she ever goes back and reads her old notes about the people she spies on. And, I wonder if she always has something to write about on each of her stops. Surely the people she watches don't do interesting things all the time. 

It's interesting that Ole Golly has a boyfriend. What do you think his story is? Do you think he and Harriet will get along if they get a chance to meet? I can't imagine that Harriet will like having to share Ole Golly with anyone. 

What do you think will happen in the next section? Do you think Harriet will have to go to dancing lessons? Do you think she will get to meet Ole Golly's boyfriend? What will happen on her spy route? 

Before you go, check out these interesting articles about the real townhouses that are like the house that Harriet lives in in the book. She the inside of the inspiration house here, and then check out this interesting article about the value of some of the houses that have shown up in children's books. 

Make sure to read until chapter 11 for next week! I hope to hear your thoughts on this first section in the comments!