Schnitzel, Laura Amy. The Hired Girl. Candlewick Press: Somerville, Massachusetts. 2015. ISBN: 9780763678180
This is the story a girl who goes from being a farm worker who dreams of becoming more to a maid in a society house. Told in diary format, we see her experiencing a whole new world and learning so much on topics such as feminism and religion.
I absolutely love books that are in diary form. It is one of my favorite forms of fiction, both to read and to write. You get to know the character is such a personal way that you don’t get in other forms. That, is by far, the strength of this book. Books like these cannot be written well in any other form. They can be written, sure, but it doesn’t give you the same feelings and same relationship with the characters that the diary form affords.
However, the book does stray from diary form and goes into prose. I’m chalking it down to bad editing. You don’t know where the diary entry ends and the “real life” action begins.
As far as plot goes, it’s your basic “I’m dreaming for something more” book about a young girl trying to find her way in a culture that doesn’t necessarily appreciate females.
The book was good, and I would give it a read, at least once. But it’s not one that I will read over and over again.
From School Library Journal: “A coming-of-age drama and deeper questions of faith, belonging, and womanhood are balanced with just the right blend of humor. VERDICT A wonderful look into the life of strong girl who learns that she needs the love of others to truly grow up.”
From New York Times Book Review: “The beauty of this novel is that it dares to go beyond the school-is-cruel and paranormal-dystopian-romance conventions and lets its adolescent heroine think on the page about what makes a human being whole: art, love, faith, education, family, friendship.”
From Kirkus Review: “The diary format allows Joan’s romantic tendencies full rein, as well as narrative latitude for a few highly improbable scenarios and wildly silly passion. Tons of period details, especially about clothing, round out a highly satisfying and smart breast-clutcher from this Newbery-winning author.”
Other books by Laura Amy Schlitz:
Splendors and Gloom ISBN 0763653802
The Night Fairy ISBN 9780763652951
A Drowned Maiden’s Hair ISBN0763638129
Other Historical Fiction book in Diary form:
My Heart is on the Ground by Ann Rinaldi ISBN 0590149229
The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory ISBN 0590226533
The Journal of Sean Sullivan, A Transcontinental Railroad Worker ISBN 0439049946