In this biography, discover the true story of Harriet the Spy author Louise Fitzhugh — and learn about the woman behind one of literature's most beloved heroines. Harriet the Spy , first published in 1964, has mesmerized generations of readers and launched a million diarists.
... a highly enjoyable biography by Leslie Brody, a professor at the University of Redlands in California and the author of a 2010 biography of Jessica Mitford ... Ms. Brody’s engaging biography reminds us how fragile and serendipitous artistic beginnings can be, yet how mighty and enduring their endings.
In Sometimes You Have to Lie an engrossing and carefully researched biography of Louise Fitzhugh, Leslie Brody vibrantly tells the story of the complicated and ultimately triumphant life of the author of Harriet the Spy. She presents a full portrait of Fitzhugh, previously a shadowy figure at best, and places her firmly in the top rank of children’s book creators. What’s more, she establishes that Fitzhugh was a writer and artist who had an indelible impact on generations of young readers and adult writers as disparate as Jonathan Franzen and Alison Bechdel ... We can always read (or reread) Harriet the Spy. And now, thanks to this superb biography, we have become intimately familiar with its enigmatic and fascinating creator.
Brody enthusiastically describes Louise’s thrilling adventures on ocean liners to Europe, hanging out in Parisian cafés and painting in Bologna, before moving to Greenwich Village ... Brody performed detailed research via newspaper clippings, correspondence, and a variety of interviews, and her descriptions in Sometimes You Have To Lie can get downright granular ... Brody makes the case that the life Fitzhugh was able to craft can be listed among her most impressive creations: devoted friends, one long-term romance after another, and the will to never compromise over who she was—neither regarding her sexuality nor anything else. It makes the biography’s title puzzling. The true heart of Fitzhugh’s life can be found in what Ole Golly says after that line: 'But to yourself you must always tell the truth.' In Sometimes You Have To Lie , Brody shows that Louise Fitzhugh certainly did so, offering Harriet The Spy fans even more to admire.