Book Review: A new biography explores the rebellious, bohemian life of the author of Harriet The Spy

The 1964 children’s novel Harriet The Spy inspired an entire generation of future writers and diarists. The protagonist—an Upper East Side 11-year-old who spies on her neighbors when she’s not spending time with her stern, knowledgeable nanny, Ole Golly—stood out from the idyllic young heroes and heroines of children’s literature of the era. Harriet was opinionated, sneaky, and stubborn, and rebelled against her parents’ demands. “I’ll be damned if I go!” she says of attending dance school.

It turns out many of the roots of Harriet’s privileged existence can be found in the life of her creator, Louise Fitzhugh. Leslie Brody’s new biography, Sometimes You Have To Lie (a piece of Ole Golly dialogue), delves deep into the writer’s fascinating past. Read more…