- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Candlewick (Sept. 8 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 076367818X
- ISBN-13: 978-0763678180
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.2 x 22.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #130,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Hired Girl Hardcover – Sep 8 2015
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The beauty of this novel is that it dares to go beyond the school-is-cruel and paranormal-dystopian-romance conventions and lets its adolescent heroine think on the page about what makes a human being whole: art, love, faith, education, family, friendship.
—The New York Times Book Review
Written as a diary, the first-person narrative brings immediacy to Joan’s story and intimacy to her confessions and revelations. The distinctive household setting and the many secondary characters are well developed, while Joan comes alive on the page as a vulnerable, good-hearted, and sometimes painfully self-aware character struggling to find her place in the world. A memorable novel from a captivating storyteller.
—Booklist (starred review)
The diary format allows Joan's romantic tendencies full rein, as well as narrative latitude for a few highly improbable scenarios and wildly silly passion. Tons of period details, especially about clothing, round out a highly satisfying and smart breast-clutcher from this Newbery-winning author.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Joan is reminiscent of heroines like Anne Shirley, Jo March, Cassandra Mortmain, and her own favorite character, Jane Eyre...Her overactive imagination, passions, and impulsive disregard for propriety often get Joan into trouble, but these same qualities will endear her to readers everywhere.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Coming-of-age drama and deeper questions of faith, belonging, and womanhood are balanced with just the right blend of humor. A wonderful look into the life of strong girl who learns that she needs the love of others to truly grow up.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
The book is framed as Joan’s diary, and her weaknesses, foibles, and naiveté come through as clearly—and as frequently—as her hopes, dreams, and aspirations...by the end readers feel as if they’ve witnessed the real, authentic growth of a memorable young woman.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Fans of Little Women, rejoice. Janet's impassioned diary, inspired by Schlitz's own grandmother's journals, explores themes of faith and feminism, love and literature, culture and class in early 20th-century America, all the while charming readers with a vivid cast of characters.
—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
What a heroine, not just for the early 20th century, which Ms. Schlitz skillfully evokes through Janet’s impressions, but also for our own time. An unsophisticated girl who thirsts for education, an impulsive idealist who, when she errs, passionately seeks to put things right: Janet Lovelace is an utterly endearing young woman on whom not a second of youth, it seems, will be wasted. Brava to Laura Amy Schlitz, whose enchanting writing has brought such a spectacular character to young people’s literature.
—The Wall Street Journal
An enlightening portrayal of a young girl’s struggle to assert herself at a time when women’s rights were just beginning to be established...Joan’s strength and determination, despite the expectations of a young woman’s attitude and behavior at the time, are inspiring to young readers. Readers of all ages will find her an appealing heroine.
...fans, who appreciate historical fiction as intelligent as it is entertaining, will be well pleased.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Joan is a true heroine with whom readers are sure to sympathize, and her exciting and humorous adventures will keep readers engaged. Written in diary form with the Voctorian eloquence reflecting Joan's love of Jane Eyre, this novel is sure to inspire girls of any background and lead to greater understanding of Jews and Judaism.
—Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter
[Joan's] determined earnestness will lead readers to root for her...
"The Hired Girl" is a tender, utterly captivating story about a girl grasping onto small kindnesses and trying to better herself—a classic American story.
—San Antonio Express-News
About the Author
Laura Amy Schlitz is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, the Newbery Honor Book and New York Times bestseller Splendors and Glooms, and several other books for young readers. A teacher as well as a writer, Laura Amy Schlitz lives in Maryland.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com
Schlitz creates a wholly human character in Joan Skrags, a 14 year old girl in 1911 thirsting for the learning, culture and knowledge to which she had only brief exposure through her mother and an insightful teacher, but which is cut short by her harsh and intimidating father after her mother’s untimely death. As a “big, ugly ox of a girl”, she is condemned to a life of drudgery on a hard scrabble farm, unappreciated by her father and 3 brothers. It is a telling sign about Joan that it is the burning of her 3 romantic novels, Jane Eyre, Ivanhoe and Dombey and Son that give Joan the resolve to flee her family and seek a new life.
Joan ends up in Baltimore at night, lost with no place to stay after fleeing a man who tried to take liberties with her. By lucky chance she is taken in by the Rosenbachs, a prosperous Jewish family, and the real story of Joan’s education and personal growth begins.
This is a delightful story, narrated by Joan through her diary in which she can put down her most intimate thoughts, confusions, and fantasies. To gain work as a hired girl in the Rosenbach household, Joan pretends to be 18, forcing her to behave as she imagines an 18 year old would. Her physical development makes this somewhat believable but she still possesses a more childish mind and personality, albeit a very quick one capable of learning and insight. Joan considers herself an earnest Catholic, the faith of her mother to whose memory Joan is very loyal. While she comes to respect, and even love, the Rosenbachs she is also trying fervently to deepen her Catholic faith with the help of a local priest. The conflict and resolution this engenders is an important lesson for Joan, as for us all.
Joan also creates a number of conflicts of her own within the Rosenbach family through her well-intentioned naïve efforts to help them. Despite the near term humiliations and embarrassments she experiences as a result, the ultimate results are happy ones and Joan learns from each event.
It is not easy to show the growth of a character like Joan, but Schlitz’ own experience as a librarian/teacher has shown her the truth of such things and she develops Joan in a very believable manner. Furthermore, all the other characters are also well developed and believable. I felt I knew and understood them all by the end of the book. The lessons Joan learns are those that all young persons should learn, and even many adults.
This book is another masterpiece from Schlitz. I can’t wait to see in what new direction she’ll head next!
I understand the slow nature of life in 1911 is an obvious no thank you for most readers, but Laura Amy Schlitz wasn't looking for ecstatic adventures. She was looking for the real, normal moments of life back in 1911.
Our main character is Joan Skraggs, a naive but empowered young girl looking to give a name for herself as a teacher. After she is given a journal by her favorite teacher, she vows to fill it to the brim with words and knowledge. Of course there are hiccups along the way, some that land her in a Jewish household as an almost Catholic hired girl.
Throughout the summer of 1911, she covers her pages in eloquent writing and comical but stressful events that will leave you laughing and tearing your hair out. It's the main reason why this is an important read. The diary pages are smothered in the life of a girl dealing with sexism and religious tension, which are all problems that we still deal with today. This novel is a magic mirror, and our world is staring right into it. But Joan's growth throughout pushes these boundaries down. This is especially true as her relationship with the Rosenbachs takes two steps forward and a step and a half back.
Take a moment or two to really dive into this novel. You'll be laughing and wondering why the past seems to repeat itself.
Readers from middle school to adult would enjoy this very engaging story.
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