The Hired Girl - a Book Review

February 24, 2017

The hired Girl book review
Like the first book I read for my 2017 book goal, I’d never heard of ‘The Hired Girl’ by Laura Amy Schlitz until I read the blurb on the A Mighty Girl booklist, but it sounded promising. Published in September 2015 it is a work for young adults and is one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to teen girls.

The book tells the story of fourteen year old Joan who, in 1911, runs away from her home on a small farm in Pennsylvania when her father forbids her from continuing her schooling. Being a lover of reading, Joan treasures the few books she owns and longs for a life full of love and adventure just like her favourite heroines.

The Hired Girl takes the form of a diary, written by Joan in the notebook given to her by her beloved teacher, Miss Chandler. At first I found the format a bit befuddling, and frankly I had a bit of trouble with Joan’s ‘voice’. But I got over myself and realised that the author had truly managed to inhabit the mind of a fourteen year old girl. If you’re a fan of Anne of Green Gables you’ll like Joan – she’s intelligent, naïve, impetuous, prone to making rather large blunders, and desperate to be in love. At times I found Joan to be a frustrating character who is overly emotional and a bit self-involved, but then again so are all regular fourteen year old girls (except for me – I’m sure I was perfect when I was fourteen – Ha!).

The author has crafted a tale where Joan takes us on a journey through early twentieth-century America as she experiences new inventions like electricity and a magical carpet-sweeper, and as she learns about feminism, religion and love. Overall I thought 'The Hired Girl' was an enjoyable book, and one I’d recommend if you’re looking for an easy read.

The hired Girl book cover
Book Title: The Hired Girl
Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Pages: 400
My rating: 3 Stars
Buy the Book:
Winner of the 2016 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction A 2016 Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Award Winner Winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her delicious wit and keen eye to early twentieth-century America in a moving yet comedic tour de force. Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself--because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of--a woman with a future. Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz relates Joan's journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!), taking readers on an exploration of feminism and housework; religion and literature; love and loyalty; cats, hats, and bunions.

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