Earlier last week, I started reading Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend. Tartt has only written two novels, the first being The Secret History, which I really enjoyed. Since I liked her style of writing so much, I decided to pick up The Little Friend. Both of Tartt’s novels are long and require more time to read. I thought I might try a different approach to blogging about this book since it is on the longer side. With this novel, I’m going to blog as I make my way through the novel.
The Little Friend is broken-up into a prologue followed by seven chapters. So far, I have read the prologue and the first chapter and I’ll admit that I’m hooked. Interestingly enough, both of Tartt’s novels start with a murder. The difference between the two is that The Secret History is told from the perspective of one of the killers, while The Little Friend leaves the reader with no real clue as to who committed the crime. Both novels had me going from the start.
I think one of the reasons that I loved The Secret History so much, and why I’m thoroughly enjoying The Little Friend, is how Tartt challenges her readers to think a little differently. I have continually found myself really thinking about the questions the main characters have asked themselves. In the case of The Little Friend, the main character is Harriet. Harriet is one of the younger sisters of the boy who is found murdered in the book’s prologue. Harriet never settles with a “because that’s just the way it is” response to her questions. She is feisty and sassy and wants answers to her questions. And one of her questions is who murdered her brother.
Now obviously I want to know who killed Harriet’s brother, but there are a few underlying themes that I’m interested to see Tartt develop throughout the novel. One theme is religion. Harriet is constantly questioning religion. She quotes the scripture and uses it to back almost all of her arguments. Harriet’s mom tells her that she should tell a white lie so as to not hurt someone’s feelings but Harriet’s stance is there is no grey area when it comes to lying. The Bible says lying is wrong; therefore even lying to spare someone’s feelings is a sin. A second theme is racism. Set in the south in the 1970’s, racism is present while at the same time not right out in the open (I have a feeling I should add a “yet” to the end of that sentence). Yes, there are a few offhand comments, but I’m suspecting that race will play a much larger role in the chapters to come.
So those are my thoughts so far on The Little Friend. I can’t wait to read more of this book and share my thoughts!