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Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy

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In this inspiring biography, discover the true story of Harriet the Spy author Louise Fitzhugh -- and learn about the woman behind one of literature's most beloved heroines. Harriet the Spy, first published in 1964, has mesmerized generations of readers and launched a million diarists. Its beloved antiheroine, Harriet, is erratic, unsentimental, and endearing-very much like In this inspiring biography, discover the true story of Harriet the Spy author Louise Fitzhugh -- and learn about the woman behind one of literature's most beloved heroines. Harriet the Spy, first published in 1964, has mesmerized generations of readers and launched a million diarists. Its beloved antiheroine, Harriet, is erratic, unsentimental, and endearing-very much like the woman who created her, Louise Fitzhugh. Born in 1928, Fitzhugh was raised in segregated Memphis, but she soon escaped her cloistered world and headed for New York, where her expanded milieu stretched from the lesbian bars of Greenwich Village to the art world of postwar Europe, and her circle of friends included members of the avant-garde like Maurice Sendak and Lorraine Hansberry. Fitzhugh's novels, written in an era of political defiance, are full of resistance: to authority, to conformity, and even -- radically, for a children's author -- to make-believe. As a children's author and a lesbian, Fitzhugh was often pressured to disguise her true nature. Sometimes You Have to Lie tells the story of her hidden life and of the creation of her masterpiece, which remains long after her death as a testament to the complicated relationship between truth, secrecy, and individualism.


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In this inspiring biography, discover the true story of Harriet the Spy author Louise Fitzhugh -- and learn about the woman behind one of literature's most beloved heroines. Harriet the Spy, first published in 1964, has mesmerized generations of readers and launched a million diarists. Its beloved antiheroine, Harriet, is erratic, unsentimental, and endearing-very much like In this inspiring biography, discover the true story of Harriet the Spy author Louise Fitzhugh -- and learn about the woman behind one of literature's most beloved heroines. Harriet the Spy, first published in 1964, has mesmerized generations of readers and launched a million diarists. Its beloved antiheroine, Harriet, is erratic, unsentimental, and endearing-very much like the woman who created her, Louise Fitzhugh. Born in 1928, Fitzhugh was raised in segregated Memphis, but she soon escaped her cloistered world and headed for New York, where her expanded milieu stretched from the lesbian bars of Greenwich Village to the art world of postwar Europe, and her circle of friends included members of the avant-garde like Maurice Sendak and Lorraine Hansberry. Fitzhugh's novels, written in an era of political defiance, are full of resistance: to authority, to conformity, and even -- radically, for a children's author -- to make-believe. As a children's author and a lesbian, Fitzhugh was often pressured to disguise her true nature. Sometimes You Have to Lie tells the story of her hidden life and of the creation of her masterpiece, which remains long after her death as a testament to the complicated relationship between truth, secrecy, and individualism.

30 review for Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Regina White

    I cannot rate the book because I worked on researching it for four years with author Leslie Brody. We uncovered details for it that are so fascinating I have to confess I haven't stopped researching this and related topics. I have fallen way down a hole, socially distancing myself to a whole different era. I hope you enjoy it. I cannot rate the book because I worked on researching it for four years with author Leslie Brody. We uncovered details for it that are so fascinating I have to confess I haven't stopped researching this and related topics. I have fallen way down a hole, socially distancing myself to a whole different era. I hope you enjoy it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Poppy

    Fantastic. An enthralling account of the woman who gave us Harriet. A stranger sent me this, having heard me talk about my love for Harriet the Spy. I’m so grateful.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laura Mazer

    The book I've been waiting for. Hello, mastermind creator of Harriet the Spy! The book I've been waiting for. Hello, mastermind creator of Harriet the Spy!

  4. 4 out of 5

    M. [storme reads a lot]

    have never read Harriet the Spy. I just loved the 90s movie. I was so intrigued to pick up this biography, and I was not able to put it down until I was done. It’s very interesting and well done. Even someone who knew nothing about the author or the book except for the movie, I loved every moment of this. Writing a book about a kid that’s not perfect seemed to be a landmark. People didn’t like that Harriet was nasty. However I think the way this book was done helped children to realize they could have never read Harriet the Spy. I just loved the 90s movie. I was so intrigued to pick up this biography, and I was not able to put it down until I was done. It’s very interesting and well done. Even someone who knew nothing about the author or the book except for the movie, I loved every moment of this. Writing a book about a kid that’s not perfect seemed to be a landmark. People didn’t like that Harriet was nasty. However I think the way this book was done helped children to realize they could be human and it’s okay. I remember I wanted to have a notebook and be like Harriet too. She’s seriously the coolest. Learning about the author and the influence for the book was fantastic. This book is also great because it’s an incredible piece of LGBTQ history. I had no idea about the author being a lesbian and she was living her life this way. I know the time period was about do not ask do not tell, but it’s awesome she was being her true self. I think this was one of the best parts of the book, seeing how she was accepting of herself and living her own life. I hope we will continue to get more stories of LGBT authors and their lives. I think this book would be great for new and old fans. Learn about an interesting author, have a new reason to read or reread Harriet the Spy and other works by this author. Just a really well done biography. A huge thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)

    “Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh was first published in 1964. Since then, this classic middle-grade school novel has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. However, the author's personal life remained a mystery as she never granted interviews or attended bookstore publicity events. Louise was born to a privileged family in Memphis during the 1920s and quickly accepted that she was a lesbian. She became unhappy with the local climate of racial and social segregation and left for New York City “Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh was first published in 1964. Since then, this classic middle-grade school novel has sold over 5 million copies worldwide. However, the author's personal life remained a mystery as she never granted interviews or attended bookstore publicity events. Louise was born to a privileged family in Memphis during the 1920s and quickly accepted that she was a lesbian. She became unhappy with the local climate of racial and social segregation and left for New York City to study art and poetry. In her short life, she cultivated a life filled with rich experiences and a community of deep friendships. “Sometimes You Have To Lie” by Leslie Brody is a well-crafted biography of the complicated and interesting life of a pioneering woman. I found this book fascinating as it depicts someone who stayed true to herself while creating realistic books for young adults. One of my earliest memories of “Harriet the Spy” was seeing it propped up in my school library as a recommended book. I was intrigued to learn more about the author.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Schulman

    Fun to read- part of that genre of Lesbians in the Village: Audre Lorde's Zami, and biographies of Patricia Highsmith, Bereniece Abbott and Agnes Martin. Longing for a social history that brings all this together. Fun to read- part of that genre of Lesbians in the Village: Audre Lorde's Zami, and biographies of Patricia Highsmith, Bereniece Abbott and Agnes Martin. Longing for a social history that brings all this together.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    Read as an Advanced Reading Copy so I do hope that there are photographs of Fitzhugh's art work in the final book but this is mediocre and that's being kind - really if you are going to write a biography about one of the great children's writers, learn something about the field and read the book with care - Brody's comments about Harriet the Spy show what a piss-poor reader she is and really are embarrassing - she clearly doesn't get Harriet - imagine seeing no change in Harriet from the opening Read as an Advanced Reading Copy so I do hope that there are photographs of Fitzhugh's art work in the final book but this is mediocre and that's being kind - really if you are going to write a biography about one of the great children's writers, learn something about the field and read the book with care - Brody's comments about Harriet the Spy show what a piss-poor reader she is and really are embarrassing - she clearly doesn't get Harriet - imagine seeing no change in Harriet from the opening the book in comparison to its ending. This is a trite book by a writer who clearly has no real interest in Children's Literature - if she did she'd know that To Kill a Mockingbird isn't and has never been a work of Children's Literature and believe you me - Louise Fitzhugh wouldn't want Harriet to be compared to Scout - not ever. Not just disappointed - Leslie Brody wasted my time!

  8. 4 out of 5

    June Schwarz

    An engaging biography of Louise Fitzhugh: well-researched, nicely balanced, and interesting. Brody does a nice job giving us a clear idea of what Fitzhugh was like as a child, a student, a person, as well as a writer and artist. Brody’s examination of Fitzhugh’s personal relationships, her lovers and friends, is fascinating and feels fair and careful, particularly when discussing Fitzhugh’s later years and death. I would have liked more excerpts from Fitzhugh’s letters and personal papers, as wel An engaging biography of Louise Fitzhugh: well-researched, nicely balanced, and interesting. Brody does a nice job giving us a clear idea of what Fitzhugh was like as a child, a student, a person, as well as a writer and artist. Brody’s examination of Fitzhugh’s personal relationships, her lovers and friends, is fascinating and feels fair and careful, particularly when discussing Fitzhugh’s later years and death. I would have liked more excerpts from Fitzhugh’s letters and personal papers, as well as her art. This would have provided a more textured reckoning with the way Fitzhugh balanced her art, her writing, and her life, and for those who are unfamiliar with the art beyond the line drawings in Harriet the Spy, it might give access to a range of Fitzhugh’s work that isn’t easily available elsewhere. However, based on Brody’s elucidation on the last years of Fitzhugh’s life, it seems a fair assumption that those materials may be unavailable to scholars. I highly recommend Sometimes You Have to Lie to anyone who loved Harriet the Spy and grew up wondering about her creator. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gail C.

    SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO LIE is an in-depth look into the life and growth of Louise Fitzhugh. Her unconventional upbringing and bohemian style life say much about why Harriet, the Spy is who she is. There are also a vast number of other writing gigs and books attributed to Fitzhugh about which I knew nothing. This is a book that will probably be most enjoyed by those who are Fitzhugh’s fans. It is filled, sometimes overly so, with information about her entire life, including her family, her rebellio SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO LIE is an in-depth look into the life and growth of Louise Fitzhugh. Her unconventional upbringing and bohemian style life say much about why Harriet, the Spy is who she is. There are also a vast number of other writing gigs and books attributed to Fitzhugh about which I knew nothing. This is a book that will probably be most enjoyed by those who are Fitzhugh’s fans. It is filled, sometimes overly so, with information about her entire life, including her family, her rebelliousness, and her considerable quest for new adventures and experiences. Fitzhugh lived a life many people might expect of an artist, although it might be less expected when one considers the author to be one of children’s books. While this book didn’t excite me, I think it probably will be captivating for anyone who is a fan of Fitzhugh’s work. I would recommend it to anyone who likes both biographies and Louise Fitzhugh. My thanks to Perseus Books for an advanced copy for this review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I grew up with Harriet the Spy so I expected to like its author, Louise Fitzhugh. Her life was incredibly interesting and that’s covered — detailed, really — in this biography. While I learned a great deal, this book could’ve used an aggressive editor. It’s one-third longer than it should be and contains some content that is neither here nor there in the profile of the author; just too much of a good thing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews

    I was intrigued by this book because while I have heard of Harriet the Spy, I have never read the book. I always love learning about authors and what their life was like and how they came to create their famous works and I now want to read the book that helped girls realize that they do not have to fit into a mold of what society thinks they should do and be in life. Louise Fitzhugh led an interesting life and I felt like she never quite figured out where she fit in, or if she fit in at all. Her I was intrigued by this book because while I have heard of Harriet the Spy, I have never read the book. I always love learning about authors and what their life was like and how they came to create their famous works and I now want to read the book that helped girls realize that they do not have to fit into a mold of what society thinks they should do and be in life. Louise Fitzhugh led an interesting life and I felt like she never quite figured out where she fit in, or if she fit in at all. Her family appeared to be dysfunctional, but then what family isn't today? Louise liked to have fun and didn't let anyone bring her down, or at least that is my impression. She had dreams of what she wanted for her life, and it wasn't to live in Tennessee. Rather, New York and Paris were two locations that called to her. This book is very detailed about Louise, her writing, her art, and her family. There is a section that shares how her parents met and their relationship, however brief, and how that impacted Louise growing up. I felt that the book was well researched with all of the footnotes. Most of the information came from family and friends since Louise rarely gave interviews, but I felt like the details gave us an insight into her travels through life and love. This is not a quick read and sometimes I felt like there was too much information, but I can imagine it was hard to know what to keep and what to leave out. Overall we give it 3 paws up.

  12. 5 out of 5

    J. Brendan

    Super fun and engaging biography about Louise Fitzhugh who was not only the author of a childhood fave but also a visual artist and at the center of overlapping worlds of queer women in the New York City art and publishing worlds. I think at times the author does indulge in a bit of imagining about the historical context (what they would have been reading/watching) but that helps give a fuller picture of the world of these women. I would be curious to read more about Fitzhugh's gender play which Super fun and engaging biography about Louise Fitzhugh who was not only the author of a childhood fave but also a visual artist and at the center of overlapping worlds of queer women in the New York City art and publishing worlds. I think at times the author does indulge in a bit of imagining about the historical context (what they would have been reading/watching) but that helps give a fuller picture of the world of these women. I would be curious to read more about Fitzhugh's gender play which is discussed in a biographical context here but certainly could be drawn out further. The closing examination of the close grasp the Fitzhugh estate keeps on her documents illuminates some of the unfortunate gaps here but overall Brody does a great job bringing Fitzhugh to life and I definitely want to reread Harriet the Spy immediately.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Sampson

    Harriet the Spy is queer canon confirmed

  14. 5 out of 5

    Angela Williamson

    Harriet the Spy is one of the books from my childhood which stuck with me always. When I saw Sometimes You Have to Lie I was excited to read more about the author. After I read Harriet, I began people watching, trying to puzzle out their lives and figuring out what makes people do the things they do. One of the things I loved was that Fitzhugh's own way of living her life, not following the rules and living her own life and there is nothing wrong with being a little different and quirky. That's Harriet the Spy is one of the books from my childhood which stuck with me always. When I saw Sometimes You Have to Lie I was excited to read more about the author. After I read Harriet, I began people watching, trying to puzzle out their lives and figuring out what makes people do the things they do. One of the things I loved was that Fitzhugh's own way of living her life, not following the rules and living her own life and there is nothing wrong with being a little different and quirky. That's what I took form Harriet and love that the author taught me that. This interesting, well written biography made me pull out my old copy and read again for nostalgia. Thanks NetGalley and Leslie Brody for a chance to read this book for a review and reclaim some of my childhood!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Mae

    An absolutely delightful and engaging biography on the woman behind one of my favorite books, Harriet the Spy. I knew absolutely nothing about Louise Fitzhugh prior to reading this, and found her a truly wonderful artist who knew so many people and had a genuine talent that Harriet the Spy was able to exemplify... but she had so much more to offer. I highly recommend this to fans of Harriet, anyone who appreciates LGBTQ+ history, and fans of midcentury literature in general.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gayle

    Full review at: http://www.everydayiwritethebookblog.... When I was growing up, Harriet the Spy was one of my all-time favorite books. I read it so many times that the spine cracked. (I actually still have my copy of the book – scroll down for a picture of it.) It’s the story of Harriet, an irreverent, nonconformist eleven year-old girl who keeps notebooks detailing the goings-on of her Yorkville neighbors and containing unflattering comments about her classmates. One day, her notebook is confisc Full review at: http://www.everydayiwritethebookblog.... When I was growing up, Harriet the Spy was one of my all-time favorite books. I read it so many times that the spine cracked. (I actually still have my copy of the book – scroll down for a picture of it.) It’s the story of Harriet, an irreverent, nonconformist eleven year-old girl who keeps notebooks detailing the goings-on of her Yorkville neighbors and containing unflattering comments about her classmates. One day, her notebook is confiscated and read, and Harriet must suffer the fallout from this unfortunate discovery. In the end, she learns the value of tact, compromise and the well-placed apology, as she tries to get back into her friends’ good graces. But who was the creative genius behind Harriet The Spy and its classic illustrations? She was Louise Fitzhugh, the subject of Leslie Brody’s biography, Sometimes You Have To Lie. Louise Fitzhugh was a complicated woman. Born in Tennessee in 1920s to a mismatched couple who divorced soon after, she was raised by her father’s wealthy family and kept from seeing her mother until she was basically an adult. She never felt comfortable in segregated Memphis and moved during college to New York, where she eventually settled in Greenwich Village. Fitzhugh was an artist, dabbling in everything from painting to murals to book illustrations and, eventually, fiction. Harriet The Spy came out in the mid-60s and reflected Fitzhugh’s generally iconoclastic view of the world. She disliked artifice, convention and predictability. She never hid her lesbianism and had several long, committed relationships with women. She dazzled and entertained her friends with her passion, humor and talent, but she could also be impetuous and flighty. Brody’s memoir, compiled from a wide range of interviews with Fitzhugh’s family and contemporaries, explains how Fitzhugh’s roots turned her into the person she became. Her father, in particular, was a smart but insecure man whose insistence on control and propriety was soundly rejected by his daughter (and would have been by Harriet, too). His mother, Fitzhugh’s grandmother, was kind but eccentric, and she too found a place in Fitzhugh’s writing over the years. Harriet’s beloved nanny, Ole Golly, was an amalgamation of caregivers who had shown Fitzhugh kindness and affection in her childhood – something she had lacked from her own parents. Brody was clearly taken with her subject, and her writing is lively and detailed – sometimes overly so, as there is a fair amount of information in Sometimes You Have To Lie that could have been pared back or eliminated. And because Fitzhugh was reclusive and rarely gave interviews, Brody was often left to guess about Fitzhugh’s innermost thoughts. But for diehard Harriet fans – of which there are surely millions – Sometimes I Have To Lie is a rewarding look at the woman who conjured up such a compelling heroine.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Another great biography! I read this story of Louise shortly after I read one of Louisa, and so I thought it a bit interesting to think of the two of them, Louise Fitzhugh and Louisa May Alcott, and how they were similar and so different. Here's the first thing: so, when I was reading "Marmee and Louisa," I thought of their poverty and how that drove LMA and wondered was it necessary to create the artist? And then I read about Louise. This was so fascinating, to read about Louise Fitzhugh. I appre Another great biography! I read this story of Louise shortly after I read one of Louisa, and so I thought it a bit interesting to think of the two of them, Louise Fitzhugh and Louisa May Alcott, and how they were similar and so different. Here's the first thing: so, when I was reading "Marmee and Louisa," I thought of their poverty and how that drove LMA and wondered was it necessary to create the artist? And then I read about Louise. This was so fascinating, to read about Louise Fitzhugh. I appreciated that it began with the story of her parents, so this told of a family and a person starting with the jazz age and the ill fated marriage between a rich man and poor women who wanted to dance, and how that shaped their daughter. And then a look at life and growing up well to do in the South, an insider because of money and family, an outsider because of her sexuality and having divorced parents. And then -- after 20 years in the south -- to New York! And a place where Louise could be herself and not hide her girlfriends and love. And this tells not just about Louise, but about New York City in the 1950s and 1960s. And about Louise and her art: as an artist, a painter, a writer. And part of the art being Louise herself, as she invented and reinvented herself. And part of that was the stories she told others about herself and her family. And here is what is interesting, a contrast to LMA. Louise Fitzhugh came from money and was left money, so she was able to pursue her art because of that money. She didn't have to "worry" about money. And yet-- that, too, drove her. Because she wanted to establish herself, do it on her own. Money drove her, like it did LMA, just in different ways. (So to go back to LMA and her awful father, my belief is LMA would have still written just with a less horrible childhood.) Last bit: I had not realized just how young Louise was when she died. So young; and one wonders, what would have been her next act. What would she have done next. What she would have thought of the world changing, in some ways, catching up with Louise.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joyfully Jay

    A Joyfully Jay review. 4.5 stars Sometimes You Have To Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy offers an interesting look at a woman who refused to be pigeon-holed by the world around her. Though she grew up among the Southern elites, Louise was bucking the system from an early age, challenging social norms and rejecting the conventional roles established for women. She could write, play music, and paint and felt most at home amongst other creative and liter A Joyfully Jay review. 4.5 stars Sometimes You Have To Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy offers an interesting look at a woman who refused to be pigeon-holed by the world around her. Though she grew up among the Southern elites, Louise was bucking the system from an early age, challenging social norms and rejecting the conventional roles established for women. She could write, play music, and paint and felt most at home amongst other creative and literary giants of her time. She wasn’t shy about her sexuality and, in age when many others had to hide, Louise lived her life relatively “out” for the time. When she wrote Harriet the Spy, she joined a then fairly small group of authors who understood that preteens were uniquely different than other ages and that childhood is a far more complicated business than most adults care to remember. Read Sue’s review in its entirety here.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ida

    "Harriet the Spy" was a formative book for me in my youth. The heroine was a an independent-minded tomboy who had a temper -- relatable as could be. When I re-read it as an adult, I was blown away by how nearly perfect it is as a novel. The book taught me valuable life lessons, including that "there are as many ways to live as there are people in the world." But I never knew much about the author, Louise Fitzhugh, except that I owed her an immense debt both for Harriet and for helping me underst "Harriet the Spy" was a formative book for me in my youth. The heroine was a an independent-minded tomboy who had a temper -- relatable as could be. When I re-read it as an adult, I was blown away by how nearly perfect it is as a novel. The book taught me valuable life lessons, including that "there are as many ways to live as there are people in the world." But I never knew much about the author, Louise Fitzhugh, except that I owed her an immense debt both for Harriet and for helping me understand what was actually happening with my newly menstruating body when I read "The Long Secret." Brody presents a satisfying portrait of Harriet's creator, a person as real and messy and passionate and complicated as the iconic character she brought to life. Fitzhugh was also an accomplished artist, outspoken against racism, and a person who strove to live a life true to herself, openly gay in an era when that took guts. I chose well for my first read of the year.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A thoroughly enjoyable biography about the author of one of my favorite (indeed, most librarian's) books. Until biographer Leslie Brody pointed it out, I didn't realize how little has ever been written or shared about Louise Fitzhugh's life. It was invigorating to learn about the robust female-centric, mostly lesbian artists' circle she was a part of, but I wonder if today's youth would read her uncompromising artistic standards as privilege, since the reason she could follow her artistic muse i A thoroughly enjoyable biography about the author of one of my favorite (indeed, most librarian's) books. Until biographer Leslie Brody pointed it out, I didn't realize how little has ever been written or shared about Louise Fitzhugh's life. It was invigorating to learn about the robust female-centric, mostly lesbian artists' circle she was a part of, but I wonder if today's youth would read her uncompromising artistic standards as privilege, since the reason she could follow her artistic muse in NYC was due to the generous allowance supplied to her by her wealthy Southern family. Still, it was a very satisfying writer's biography and has inspired me to go back and re-read her novels and look up her picture books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Earlier today I reviewed a biography that seemed to fail on so many levels, putting into perspective why this one, of writer and artist Louise Fitzhugh, succeeds on so many levels. It’s well-researched, just as the other one was, but – and here’s the difference – here the author has really tried to get to know her subject, and the result is an engaging, comprehensive, balanced and insightful exploration of Fitzhugh’s life and work. I’ve never read Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh’s most famous c Earlier today I reviewed a biography that seemed to fail on so many levels, putting into perspective why this one, of writer and artist Louise Fitzhugh, succeeds on so many levels. It’s well-researched, just as the other one was, but – and here’s the difference – here the author has really tried to get to know her subject, and the result is an engaging, comprehensive, balanced and insightful exploration of Fitzhugh’s life and work. I’ve never read Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh’s most famous creation, but I was intrigued and entertained throughout by this biography, and really felt that I got to know its subject. A great read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    I really enjoyed this fantastic memoir from the children's author for Harriet the Spy. As much as Harriett was beloved and well known, the author's life - that of Louise Fitzhugh remains to be hidden and in secret until this amazing biography written by Leslie Brody. I found that the research done was extensive and I really enjoyed reading about her life. If you like reading non-fiction biographies, memoirs or even enjoyed the children's book, Harriet the Spy, then this is a must read for you. Wo I really enjoyed this fantastic memoir from the children's author for Harriet the Spy. As much as Harriett was beloved and well known, the author's life - that of Louise Fitzhugh remains to be hidden and in secret until this amazing biography written by Leslie Brody. I found that the research done was extensive and I really enjoyed reading about her life. If you like reading non-fiction biographies, memoirs or even enjoyed the children's book, Harriet the Spy, then this is a must read for you. Wonderfully written and full of heart, I highly recommend.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found this book an interesting read of the era - so many details! - and a lot of it kind of falls into the, “things school didn’t teach me” category; loved seeing the dive into mid-20th-century New York, but: I didn’t come away from this feeling like I have a Great Understanding of Louise. And I know that part of that must be due to the estate privacy, but it just...didn’t always hit right. A throwaway line about Louise as a stepfather, sometimes going by Willie, and then just....nada. So much I found this book an interesting read of the era - so many details! - and a lot of it kind of falls into the, “things school didn’t teach me” category; loved seeing the dive into mid-20th-century New York, but: I didn’t come away from this feeling like I have a Great Understanding of Louise. And I know that part of that must be due to the estate privacy, but it just...didn’t always hit right. A throwaway line about Louise as a stepfather, sometimes going by Willie, and then just....nada. So much of the book seems to be about queer NYC life at that time, and it seems like Louise‘s own identity is only ever danced around. But the book is clearly meticulously researched, and I largely enjoyed reading it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    I've been waiting a long time for a biography of Louise Fitzhugh so I didn't much care that the prose was a bit workmanlike. Like so many other, Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret were a huge influence on me so I was eager to know more about their author and in that, I was not disappointed. So many delicious tidbits here - I wish someone would write a Women of the Left Bank style book about the lesbian scene in NYC in the 60s and 70s because I would so read it. I've been waiting a long time for a biography of Louise Fitzhugh so I didn't much care that the prose was a bit workmanlike. Like so many other, Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret were a huge influence on me so I was eager to know more about their author and in that, I was not disappointed. So many delicious tidbits here - I wish someone would write a Women of the Left Bank style book about the lesbian scene in NYC in the 60s and 70s because I would so read it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Musgrave

    When Allison Bechdel extols, “What a lesbian!” on the back cover copy... you pick up the damn book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cflack

    I loved Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret which I read as a child in the late 1960s so I was very interested to learn more about Louise Fitzhugh the author. The book is well researched and Fitzhugh is a very complex and compelling artist, but the writing was very clunky and dull. From my perspective it needed better editing. There were so many trivial details which did not add much. And the. And then. And then.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Bizarre choice of narrator for the audiobook

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sue Pit

    "Harriet the Spy" was one of my favorite reads during childhood....rather pivotal and memorable. I then took to journaling over heard conversations for awhile, as I recall and deemed it quite fun! So my daughter, knowing my fondness of the book, bought this as a birthday gift for me and I must say, I had no idea that the author Louise Fitzhugh, had such an interesting life! Actually, no surprise that someone with such a varied life might have created Harriet! An interesting read. "Harriet the Spy" was one of my favorite reads during childhood....rather pivotal and memorable. I then took to journaling over heard conversations for awhile, as I recall and deemed it quite fun! So my daughter, knowing my fondness of the book, bought this as a birthday gift for me and I must say, I had no idea that the author Louise Fitzhugh, had such an interesting life! Actually, no surprise that someone with such a varied life might have created Harriet! An interesting read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    A fascinating biography of the author of Harriet the Spy, covering her childhood in the segregated South, her art, the many women she loved, and her free-spirited nature. An enchanting, endearing read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jodie

    For such a fascinating subject, I found this to be plodding and sluggish. A short book that I read daily, and it still took almost two weeks to read. I understand some constraints that Louise's estate made might have made it difficult to really delve into Louise's life, but it seemed to veer far too much into other people's lives. For such a fascinating subject, I found this to be plodding and sluggish. A short book that I read daily, and it still took almost two weeks to read. I understand some constraints that Louise's estate made might have made it difficult to really delve into Louise's life, but it seemed to veer far too much into other people's lives.

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