Title: The Hired Girl
Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.
The Hired Girl was the March pick for one of the book clubs that I go to. I've been curious about The Hired Girl since it came out, so when this was announced, I was so eager, excited, and happy. I wasn't sure what to expect, though, since I've never read a book before by Schlitz, and the format was unusual. But honestly, I needn't have worried, because this book has become one of my all time favorites. I loved it so much--it was just so beautifully written, and the narrative was so engaging! Easily one of my favorite books of all time, and I will be looking into more of Schlitz work as soon as I can.
Joan Skraggs, only fourteen years old, longs for a life beyond her loveless family's farm. With a head full of dreams, longings, and things that lie beyond what's normal for her sex, she knows that she's different, the odd duck of her family. With a voracious love of reading and writing, she knows that she is meant for more, even if her cruel family tries to stop her. Forced to run away from home and fend for herself, Joan finds family, the education she longs for, and the pangs of first love, and she finally realizes that her destiny is in her hands alone!
I loved this book. Easily one of the best books I've ever read. It kind of reminded me of the Dear America books; it's been ages since I read a book that was in epistolary format. I loved the nostalgic feel of the diary format. Plus, it's no secret to any of my readers that historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. But most of all, I really loved Joan! Especially considering the time period that the book was set in, I loved the way she didn't let anything, not being a woman, or her horrid family, stop her from doing what she thought was right. What a character to root for! What made it even better, for me, was that this historical fiction was rooted partially in fact.
I loved this book, it was almost perfect. I loved almost all of the characters, including the kind, erudite family that takes Joan in, her instructors. But the characters I did not like were Joan's entire family, save her late mother, and David. I hated David! I don't know exactly why, but I did not like him at all. Nonetheless, The Hired Girl is a must-read for historical fiction fans, and for readers looking for a compelling, strong heroine! This book was absolutely wonderful, feminist and exciting and engaging! I can't wait for book club tomorrow! The bottom line: A beautiful, epistolary historical novel partially rooted in fact, The Hired Girl is one of my new favorite books of recent times! Next on deck: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman!