(For the 2013 A to Z Blogging Challenge, I will be featuring one book each day, that begins with that day’s letter, that made an impression on me. This means that for some reason, I didn’t just read that book and forget about it. No, I still think about it after some period of time has passed.)
Author: Johanna Spyri
Original Publication Date: 1880
Date I First Read: 1982/1983
Basic Category: Juvenile Fiction (although, the author apparently said it was “from children and those who love children”, according to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidi)
Basic Summary: Heidi (short for Adelheide) is an orphan, and her aunt doesn’t want to raise her anymore. The aunt takes her to her grandfather in the mountains – the Alps, because after all, this is Switzerland. He is recluse of sorts. Heidi becomes friends with Peter, the goatherd, and his blind grandmother. Her aunt comessagain to take her to the city, where Heidi is to be the companion of an ill rich girl, Klara. Heidi becomes extremely homesick.
What I Remember: This was one of the first long so-called “chapter books” that I read completely on my own. It took a while. I had been loaned a copy by my grandparents (which inherited some years later) because Grandpa’s ancestry is partially Swiss, and this book takes place in Switzerland! I also had a Little Golden Book version that I loved, but I wanted to read the real thing! I remember being very insistent about this. It was not abridged, either. I remember most Heidi having to leave the goats to go to the city, and then of course, Klara comes to visit Heidi’s mountain and miraculously learns to walk.
After that, I read more orphan books more or less from the same time period . . . and of course they have similar themes and miraculous recoveries – such as The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter.
What I Took Away From the Book: Mountains are wonderful. Cheese is wonderful. You might find your future husband as a young boy working as a goatherd. You never know! You might want to become a physical therapist but they didn’t really exist back in 1880 – oops.