Saturday, December 12, 2015
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
I enjoyed The Hired Girl throughout which is saying something since, as you know by now, historical fiction is not my preferred genre. I had heard good things about it but I'd also heard that there was a lot of controversy about it so I was reading with an eye open to issues. So far, most of the complaints about it I've read are discussing a few passages about Indians and Joan's insensitive, offhand comments about them. What surprises me about this is that I have yet to read anything concerning Joan's comments about Jewish people or Catholics which is a large part of the story. I'm sure those complaints are out there but they are not what comes up most readily when searching "hired girl controversy". My point here is not really to comment on any of those issues other than to say that I was surprised there isn't MORE controversy out there about this title. But I'm also a big believer in the fact that kids and teens don't bring the same stuff to a book that adults do. In this case, that could be good or bad.
Ignoring all that and just focusing on the story, I found Joan to be somewhat annoying and got frustrated by the mistakes she continued to make throughout. I was also somewhat confused by Mrs. Rosenbach who definitely blew hot and cold toward Joan. Finally, the entire resolution of things seemed quick and probably unrealistic given what had gone down and even though Joan was (mostly) not at fault. But even with all of that, I enjoyed the story and wanted to know what was going to happen next.