Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren, has long been on my list of books to read because I didn’t read it as a child, although that little girl with red hair and strange braids was always in the periphery somewhere. But I thought since she is just a little bit older than me, she is 75 years old this year, (to my 71 years), that I should celebrate by finally reading the book.
It is a beloved book worldwide, but I didn’t fall in love with it. I mostly enjoyed it, and could certainly see why it would appeal to many people young and old…and I admired the strength of this nine-year old girl and her goodhearted but quirky nature. But I felt like I was missing some of the cultural context of the book…things that might be more humorous and/or meaningful in the original language and culture. (Or maybe it was just that my sense of humor has been quarantined a little too long this spring?) She was not a boring character, and she had spunk! I think she actually might just be the quintessential spunky character.
from the publisher:
Pippi is an irrepressible, irreverent, and irrefutably delightful girl who lives alone (with a monkey) in her wacky house, Villa Villekulla. When she’s not dancing with the burglars who were just trying to rob her house, she’s attempting to learn the “pluttification” tables at school; fighting Adolf, the strongest man in the world at the circus; or playing tag with police officers. Pippi’s high-spirited, good-natured hijinks cause as much trouble as fun, but a more generous child you won’t find anywhere.
Astrid Lindgren has created a unique and lovable character, inspiring generations of children to want to be Pippi. More than anything, Pippi makes reading a pleasure; no child will welcome the end of the book, and many will return to Pippi Longstocking again and again. Simply put, Pippi is irresistible.
So the book experience for me was okay, but I was much more interested in the author, Astrid Lindgren, who appealed more to me than the character she created. She was a humanist and committed advocate for children and animal rights, and through her writings and advocacy work, she was able to help bring changes into law that prohibited violence against children (she was very much against corporal punishment) and promoted animal rights. You can read more about her work here on her website.
I’m sorry to all of you who grew up absolutely loving Pippi. Perhaps I should reread it at some point down the road to see if it was just my state of mind right now, or if the book just wasn’t quite my cup of tea.
I chose to read this book as one of my 50-books-in-5-years for The Classics Club.
I know of Pippi Longstocking, but I can’t say for certain that I ever read the book! I’m sorry it wasn’t a great read for you, though.
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Les, I probably would have really liked it had I read it as a child. There’s so much that appeals about Pippi, I’ve always liked strong female characters, but some of it was just to weird for me at this point in time.
I loved Pippi as a child because she was so unique and fun – and strong female characters felt really rare. I’m not sure how well these books would hold up for adults. I was happy to learn all you shared about the author.
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Thanks, curlygeek04! There was much about Pippi that I really liked, and she was that strong female character that I was and am always drawn to. I’m just sorry I didn’t read it while growing up because I’m sure I would have liked it better. It may simply not have been the right time for me to read it now, during this crazy time!