After an unintended long hiatus from Tales of a Bookworm, I’m back to share some great books I’ve been reading!
Heidi is a book that’s been published in over 60 languages, that is a beloved classic, and that was written in 1880. In my childhood, I very much enjoyed the outdoor Alpine lifestyle Heidi was able to live. Rereading it as an adult has been just as, or even more so, enjoyable.
As an orphan, Heidi is given to her grandfather, who is known in their small Alpine town in Switzerland as the curmudgeonly goat herder. Heidi looks through life with a rosy hued lens; and thus, she won over her grumpy grandfather. Together, they lived a simple lifestyle of steep, green mountains herding goats. Peter, who is not quite taken with Heidi, is a local young goat herder, with whom Heidi loves to follow. Peter, Heidi, and her grandfather enjoy their somewhat isolated life with goats, fresh milk, and fresh air.
Then, through a series of events, Heidi is sent to the city of Frankfurt as a companion to a wealthy, sick girl named Clara. While Clara and Heidi become the closest of friends, Heidi’s spirit seems to wither away without the fresh mountain air. Much of the book leaves the reader wondering if she will ever get back to her beloved mountains and grandfather.
Spyri’s descriptions of the Swiss mountains will make any reader want to hike up a steep hill and yodel for joy. The author also describes the fresh milk, bread, and cheese in such a way that makes the reader hungry for Swiss food. Furthermore, her characters and their interactions work to keep the reader interested in the plot.
While the book may seem sappy or overly sweet to a modern reader, it’s important to suspend that sense of disbelief to fall into Heidi’s world. It’s a classic book for it’s true escapism to another place, another time, and a happy ending.