Monday, October 17, 2011

"You'll Think of Something"

Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh, is my favorite book of all time.

I've loved it for so long now that I can barely remember a time when I didn't love it -- although that's crap, because I perfectly remember the summer when my cousins and I (who were all staying with our grandparents) were so psyched to see the first Nickelodeon movie.

(That's right. I found out about my favorite book of all time because Nickelodeon turned it into a movie.

Shut up, okay? I was eight. And I went to a church-school where I had a lot of "Jesus fiction" thrown at me. And the local librarians were not all that friendly. And I was painfully shy. And it had barely been a year since Dad died.

So I was somewhat sheltered.

Anyway, the movie is excellent even though the Robinsons aren't in it.)

Honestly, I don't remember precisely how old I was the first time I read the book. What I do remember is that, at 297 pages, it actually seemed long. (I was mostly reading Animorphs and The Hardy Boys, which tended to weigh in at a max of 150.) Since that first time, I have read it at least once a year.

When I was in third grade, I took the VHS to class and we all loved it. For a hot minute, everyone in Mrs. Judson's class had a composition book full of notes about each other. After a while, we were all forbidden to bring our notebooks to school unless we wrote nothing but nice things (this was a very wise decision on her part, since she had seen the movie) -- so I, the trendsetter, started leaving my notebook at home and racing to fill it at the end of every day. Not that I was full of not-nice things to say about my classmates, but I was determined to write the truth, since I had seen the movie.

I was twenty when I accidentally found out that the author, who died in 1974, was sort of well-known among the lesbian community of the day. Which, it being the seventies, was not a particularly well-known community.

It's not nearly my favorite of all time, but one movie I like rather a lot (somewhat in spite of myself) is Definitely, Maybe. A scene that stands out is the one where April explains why she loves Jane Eyre (which I have never read) so much, and that she rereads it every year because "every time it's different; it teaches me new things." For me, Harriet the Spy is exactly the same way.

Probably the most annoying thing about Depression is that, for longer than I'd care to admit, I stopped reading. Being a lifelong bookworm, this made me feel rather out of sorts. Once I did start to deal with things and feel like myself again, I was eager to get back into books. Naturally, this one was my first choice.

Okay. I'm not really sure what my point is. I had a dream about the book and the movie last night, but it wasn't very clear (my dream also included The Incredibles 2 -- which could have been called Violet to the Rescue! -- and Ponies and boys and boys with Ponies and guacamole and fingerless gloves).

I guess what I'm getting at is this one scene in the movie that's always resonated with me. It does not appear in the book, because in the book Ole Golly just sends Harriet a letter (at her parents' request; personally, I don't think Harriet put two and two together until years later), which . . . isn't all that interesting to watch . . . so, in the movie, she physically comes back for a visit and they have a chat and she says (note: this isn't quite verbatim),

"You're an individual, and that scares people."

Harriet, bless her, wants to know, "So what am I supposed to do?"

"You stay true to Harriet and accept the cost."

Ole Golly then admonishes that Harriet is eleven, so it's time for her to start writing something other than notes.

"Like what?"

"You'll think of something."

So . . . that was my point, I guess. Kind of.

Also, in case you missed it, I just stumbled upon the answer to every social quirk that's been getting on my nerves lately: I'm an individual, and that scares people.

"People" can suck it. I'm AWESOME.

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