Heidi (1881)

………………………………………………………………

Heidi by Johanna Spyri Book Review

Heidi is an 1881 Swiss children’s novel written by Johanna Spyri. It is a famous and still popular book for many valid reasons as it truly is a great work.

………………………………………………………………

Because I would rather be with my grandfather on the Alps

than anywhere else on Earth.

………………………………………………………………

Heidi by Johanna Spyri Book Review………………………………………………………………

It is about the events in the life of a young girl who comes to the Alps to live with her grandfather. It is a simple, yet wonderful story. I loved all of its parts. The first half is great as it is such a peaceful part where we follow Heidi adjusting to the life in the country and we see all of its aspects such as her relationship with her grandfather as well as her friend Peter and goat herding. The descriptions of the mountain are beautiful, but more on that later.

I loved its second half as well. It introduced us to Clara and her family while also presenting a good look at Frankfurt. The part where Clara arrived to the mountain and the chapters afterwards were probably my favorites, so sweet. But the ending is of course terrific. The novel does have a great, very well written first chapter, but it also gives us closure with the last, very satisfying and moving chapter.

Let’s talk about the characters. Of course Heidi is lovely and endearing and Clara was a fine companion and the two were wonderful together. But the only problem here is that Clara isn’t as well utilized as she should have been and both of the girls were just too good on my opinion. That is why Peter is the better and more interesting character. He pushed and broke Clara’s chair out of jealousy and that subplot is amazing as it was perfectly executed. We follow his guilt, his anxiety and eventually his confession. That event made his character a lot more relatable and realistic. He is certainly the most fascinating kid in the book.

………………………………………………………………

Heidi by Johanna Spyri Book Review………………………………………………………………

As for the adults, of course the grandfather is warm and caring and Clara’s father is just as sympathetic. Dete serves her purpose and Rottenmeier was typically over-the-top and excessively so. But the two old women were wonderful and I have to say that the doctor was my favorite. You just root for him as you witness his loneliness and unhappiness and I loved all of the chapters with him.

Johanna Spyri wrote this novel beautifully as Heidi is surely a wonderful read for both kids and adults. It is childlike and never childish, it is simple, yet never overly simplistic and it does have a couple of wonderful messages for the little ones in it. The religious overtones were aggressive sometimes, but other than that, Peter’s story as well as all of the country lessons were well depicted.

But the descriptions are the highlights. She is such a great writer and the way that she depicts the mountain, the goats, the weather, the trees and of course the cottage is just mesmerizing. The book is clearly pro-country as it clearly states the health benefits of living at the mountain and in the village which is why the city parts weren’t as richly depicted. But the cottage was just so heartwarmingly depicted that it transported me right into it. Heidi has such a powerful carrying quality to it that it made me want to visit the Alps immediately. That’s how strong its writing and the descriptions are! I also found the meals beautifully described and again quite inviting.

………………………………………………………………

Heidi by Johanna Spyri Book Review………………………………………………………………

If there is one problem I’ve had with it is that sometimes the titular character was overly happy and ecstatic and most of the characters were just too good and unrealistic which is why Peter is better than most of them. And some of the Frankfurt chapters either felt like detours or were over-the-top. But other than that, the book is terrific with solid dialogue and excellent pacing (it is always engaging) and is easily one of the best that children’s fiction has to offer.

With striking imagery, absolutely mesmerizing and beautifully written descriptions, a very inviting setting and likable characters, Heidi is also moving and wonderfully childlike while also being pleasantly simple and rich in messages for the kids. It is so well written and so wonderful that it’s one of the best children’s books ever written and a genuine, timeless classic.

My Rating – 4.6

………………………………………………………………

Share
Posted in BOOKS and tagged , , , , , , .

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.