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THE LITTLE FRIEND Paperback – 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: New York, NY, U.S.A.: Alfred A. Knopf Incorporated; 1st Edition edition (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747562121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965474924
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 14 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (474 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2 2004
Format: Paperback
I was about half-way through this book when I wondered: is it me, or has Donna Tartt really lost her way. I decided to check these reviews to see if I was alone in finding the book horrendously tedious, despite Tartt's obvious talent and skill as a writer. Thank you fellow reviewers. There are too many good books out there to waste anymore time on an author who couldn't or wouldn't reign in wandering plot, while piling on layer upon layer of extraneous details. Just how much can you read about hot weather and stagnant water? And where were the editors for this work? Despite her OK character development (thus my two stars), I found myself caring less and less for Harriet. She could have been enormously sympathetic and multi-faceted, but I just found her creepy.
I picked up the book because I loved Tartt's first book and this one received a good review. I think sometimes book reviewers feel it will reflect badly on their literary sensibilities if they complain about the lack of closure if a mystery isn't solved. The art is in the journey, and all that. That may be true in some cases, but I don't think it is here. This journey is just a bore. Little Friend reminded me of another overly long, out-of-control juggernaut: "The Crimson Petal and the White." Both are overwritten with no closure, but I think Crimson was definitely worth my time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tartt Fan from Ole Miss on June 29 2004
Format: Paperback
The point of this novel isn't 'Who killed Robin.' This novel highlights the turning point between Harriet's childhood and adulthood. A child's view of life is that everything has a reason. Everything ends neatly in a package tied with a bow. "The Little Friend" shows that this idea isn't true. The truth is that a child can not solve a murder that happened when she was an infant. It is rather odd that one goes into the novel with this idea. Everything in Harriet's life changed the summer she decided to solve her brother's murder. This quest is simply a backdrop to the events happening around her; it is not the main theme of the story.
While I do agree that the ending left me feeling cheated; it seemed to just end, as if her editor told her it must be 'this long.'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "jammmebrwn" on Dec 15 2002
Format: Hardcover
It's hard for me to believe that some reviewers, who evidently like literary fiction, would give this book a bad review. It just goes to show it takes all kinds. I loved the book and have recommended it to several friends. I thought the characters came alive off the page, and the plot moved along nicely. It was so interesting, I couldn't put it down and lost a lot of sleep trying to finish it. I loved the ending and Tartt's use of the water tower was foreshadowed well and rounded up everything perfectly. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five was because there is no easy solution at the end. It left me wanting a little more, but other than that, it was A plus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By 27Cathy10 on Aug. 21 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a wonderful story. Imaginative, creative, humourous, human. I can highly recommend it. The book gives us great insight into Mississippi life - before the advent of air-conditioners apparently - and the suble nuances in southern society. I loved the child's perspective. Although the children seem to be the most observant witnesses to the adults' stories and dramas, they remain "invisible". They act on what they think is right, but only have snippets of the larger picture. It all comes together in the end in a wonderous and marvelous way. Donna Tartt is nothing short of a great story-teller.
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By A Customer on June 22 2004
Format: Paperback
If you loved "The Secret History", as I did, you may be eager to read this newer book of Tartt's - but don't expect it to be like the first book. She does know how to develop a character; she's a talented writer. But this book was a waste of my time. I felt submerged in the murky, swampy, dirty, snake-infested heat of Alexandria, Mississippi, without feeling the spookiness and suspense of a good (murder? suspense?) novel. The ending was HUGE disappointment. If she's not going to come out and tell us who murdered the little boy (the little dead boy, by the way, was the most likeable character in this novel!!!!) she should at least drop a few juicy hints, so we can figure it out ourselves. Tartt may have wanted to create something "different" from her first novel, to expand on her talents, but the truth is that people like the same writing style from the same author. Her first book was a brilliant page-turner, with a weird, Greek undertone, and all loose ends were tied up neatly. "The Little Friend" is just sickening and depressing. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody, frankly.
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Format: Paperback
Harriet Dufresnes and Hely Hull are considerably more sanguine about snakes than Indiana Jones is though, and Donna Tartt makes their adventures with reptiles both funny and horrifying. The observations of Loyal Reese about snake handling could serve as an epigraph for the book: If the snake doesn't bite you, it's a miracle. If the snake bites you, and you live, it's a miracle. If it bites you and you die, it's the greatest miracle of all because you get to go to heaven.
This novel is a not-so-small miracle. I've never had an experience quite like it, and I'm a college English teacher, so I've read A LOT. On one level, I wanted to stop reading the book; it seemed to be taking forever. On another, I couldn't quit. Tartt's prose is that addictive. Fortunately (?) I got sick and had to spend a couple of days in bed which allowed me to read nearly nonstop from about 1/3 of the way through to the end. It's hard to believe, but it really is a fast-moving story, as long as you don't have a life!
I'm puzzled by those (including almost every review I read on this page) who want a tidy little package tied up with a bow at the end. Sure, it would have been nice to have the mystery fully solved, but that ain't how life works. This is an episode--a childhood picaresque without the geographical journey. The journey is inward. Harriet learns about loss through both death and a kind of betrayal, she comes to understand more about her family, she realizes that vegeance isn't hers to take, and overall, spends a pivotal summer in her life.
I do have a couple of minor complaints that account for the missing fifth star: The novel could be more carefully edited. Word-for-word repetitions are not uncommon. Also, why on earth can't a 12-year-old and a 17-year-old throw in a load of laundry?
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