Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Little Friend

I thought the beginning of The Little Friend by Donna Tartt had a real To Kill a Mockingbird quality. It takes place in a small, southern town, the lead character is a precocious young girl (Harriet) and she even has a goof-ball, show off friend like Dill. But it's not just the similarity of location and characterization that led me to that comparison - at times her writing is inspired, although, to tell the truth, sometimes it's not.

Tartt makes no small point of racial inequality in the south, and presents an uncompromising view of the young (wealthy, white) girl's insensitivity toward their (African American) maid. Unlike Scout, she's not the perfect image of a good-hearted kid, she's got flaws.

About half-way through, the similarities to To Kill a Mockingbird end. It becomes a decidedly more late 20th century story. In an effort to bring her brother's killer to justice, Harriet finds herself involved with characters much more terrifying than Boo Radley.

Ultimately I found the book a little frustrating. I lost some patience with the drawn out mystery and I thought the writing style was a bit uneven. I'd be interested in what other people thought of it, so let me know if you've read it.

1 comment:

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Lise (Evil Twin)