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Monday, October 6, 2014

The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

After reading 'The Goldfinch' I decided I really needed to read more by the author.  This is her second book, and while it is in many ways a much lighter book than her latest, it doesn't exactly step out of the darkness into light either.  It does have a rich tradition of story telling that harkens back to fellow Mississippian, William Faulkner.  Maybe it is the long hot humid summers and the dirt roads.

The story is told through Harriet, a 12-year old girl who has too much time on her hands and an active imagination.  She sets out to find the murderer of her older brother Robin and exact retribution.  She has no intention of bringing him to the police.  She is bent on killing him herself.  Once she is convinced she has found her man, she gets her best friend to help her.  He is more wooed by her than he is a co-conspirator, but Tartt perfectly captures the mind set of youth who are perfectly comfortable acting as judge, jury, and executioner.  It is only after their plan veers off course that there is even a question that this might be a plan fraught with problems, and then the second thoughts last only moments.  The story is fantastic on many levels of the word, and comes to a satisfying conclusion.  This is a winner.

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