Have you ever read a book or been read a book that changes your life? I’m not talking about a self-help book or one about religion; I’m talking about Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.


Long before the movie the librarian at my elementary school read Harriet the Spy to us-I may be dating myself by saying that. Harriet is a spy, she keeps notes on people in her everyday life as well as strangers in the city. She’s very good at sneaking into places she’s not supposed to be. Things start to fall apart when she gets caught spying from a dumbwaiter, and when the kids in her class find her notebook and read what she wrote about them.

I decided that forevermore afterwards, I would carry a notebook. Not a diary. Not quite a journal, but a real spy’s notebook.

I did have a notebook for years but they ended being journals after all.  I still credit those years of keeping a journal to Harriet. It was therapeutic and I pull them out to look through from time to time. They are full of terrible drawings and good drawings. Envelopes holding little things that amused me, even a listing of useless facts. 

Thanks Harriet! I regret that I didn’t know about the two other books The Long Lie and Sport. There are also spinoff books by other authors. I don’t know that kids today would appreciate these stories so I’ve never bought them for the school. But I appreciated Harriet, and I’m thankful she helped make me who I am.

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One thought on “The book that changed my life.

  1. And also mine. I got it from a friend when we were both ten, and we just loved it. We fancied ourselves to be spies as well, and we pooled our data and kept our notebooks. I lost track of that friend by high school but it is such a warm memory whenever I recall it. I have kept the notebook habit for almost fifty years since then, and am so grateful I for discovering the world of Harriet, Sport, and Janie…it made our otherwise closed world of children growing up in the sixties seem exciting and full of possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

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