Reasons to Read The Little Friend

I don’t know about you, but nothing inspires me to write more than reading a wonderful novel or story. And after reading Donna Tartt’s book, I couldn’t stop thinking about craft.

A good friend, who recommended the book to me, did me the favor of telling me the ending before I ever picked up the book. Her intent wasn’t to “spoil” the book for me, but a warning not to read it like a mystery novel. All of the criticism of the book I’ve read comes from readers who didn’t enter the book with this mindset, so I’ll pass this information on to you: in the end, you won’t know who the murderer was. Yes, the little girl sets out to solve the murder, but what she learns is so much more interesting.

Here would be my top three reasons for reading this book:

1. The language is both precise and gorgeous. The author’s use of modifiers is so perfect, you’ll want to go try on some adverbs when you’re finished, all those writing manuals be damned.

2. If you’ve ever struggled to understand Dramatica concepts, especially the main character’s unique ability, you’ll see a perfect example here. (I don’t know if this was intentional in the author’s part, but when I read it, it was an “ah-ha” moment for me.)

3. She makes the “villain” (one of them, anyway) so human and vulnerable, that the reader wants him to make good choices, understands when he doesn’t, and hopes his punishment isn’t too harsh.

I’m sure you can think of more reasons to read this book. You are welcome to post them!


5 responses to “Reasons to Read The Little Friend

  • Heather Sappenfield

    Okay, I’ll have to read this, Nancy. Sounds fascinating, and I love a young protagonist. Thanks for the warning about the ending.

  • Sue Staats

    Thanks. Lovely article, and the book is on my list!

  • Loranne Brown

    Nancy, you had me at: “The author’s use of modifiers is so perfect, you’ll want to go try on some adverbs when you’re finished, all those writing manuals be damned.”

    Anyone for a long distance book club discussion?

  • jrumford

    I love this book, too. Is it the setting – which seems to encompass a hot Southern summer in my own memory? Is it the way the story rambles – never in a rush to get anywhere – but covering so much territory?

    The characters seem to be relatives that we’ve heard about at family gatherings, people that we grew up with and know as well as any family member.

    And the language – as Nancy points out – is simply lovely.

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