Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren

I have wonderful friends, all around. Seriously, I do. I should probably devote a post to each one of you and I could easily do so. It would be easy. Today's Huge Thank You goes to Annette at This Simple Home who kindly sent me a copy of Pippi Longstocking after discovering that I hadn't read it.

It was the perfect book for me to read a couple of days ago. I didn't have a whole lot of time to read and I wanted the satisfaction of knowing that I could actually sit down and completely ONE project. (These days projects are all completed in baby steps which is typically not how I prefer to accomplish things.) I wanted to start and finish something in the time I had allotted to me and Pippi fit the bill. An easy read. I wrapped up in an hour. Bingo! (Thank you, Annette, for entertaining me! I would have happily spent an hour talking to you face-to-face but I felt like I got to spend time with you which was also an encouragement.)

Pippi Longstocking is an interesting character. Honestly, I do not love her. (Insert a million and two apologies to Shonya in particular!) I opened the cracks of Pippi not having a single clue about her except that she had pigtails that stuck out. (That is seriously all I knew.) I was immediately informed that Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackerelmint Efraim's Daughter Longstocking was a red-haired orphan. Instantly my brain shot to a comparison between Pippi and Anne. Anne was even more instantly declared the hands-down winner. Pippi just didn't even stand a chance which I'm sure some will find sad.

Anne and Pippi both have a rather rabid tongue but I think Anne infinitely more clever. Also, they both try to be good and obedient, but fail miserably. Anne fails miserably while truly trying to be respectful and kind though. Pippi seems to disregard all attempts at being remotely normal and so she felt exaggerated and overdone to me. If you are looking for random entertainment and an opportunity to smirk for an hour, Pippi does the trick. If you are looking for a character to love, well . . . *I*, at least, must look elsewhere. (By the way, Annette lets me share my honest opinion and always tells me that she hopes I will. I love that she gives me the freedom to like or not like a book.)

I thought Pippi was generally disrespectful to adults. I didn't care for the way that she spoke to them and teased them, all while clearly infuriating them. That rumpled me badly. I didn't mind if she was being goofy with her friends. She can be goofy with them all she likes! I've no objections to that. But I did take issue with her dismissal of adult advice and instruction. I, however, was reading the book silently to myself when I was forming this conclusion. About half way through the book I started thinking about how the book would read, were I reading it aloud to Bookworm1. I came to the conclusion that I would feel differently about Pippi if were sharing the story with my son. Outloud, Pippi's ridiculousness is magnified. Read outloud, it is more clear that she is in the wrong and the adults are in the right. Her silliness is displayed better with the use of a change in tone and voice inflection. It's easy enough to see that she's a silly girl who needs to learn some manners. In fact, there are several Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle qualities to the book when it comes to describing bad behavior. So I think ultimately I'm left with the idea that I'd probably like this book better as a read aloud than a private read. That said, I did smile and smirk several times and that's all I was asking from Pippi! She delivered the goods. A big Thank You to Annette for finally schooling me in the character of Pippi!


Annette Whipple said...

You are very welcome!

I think I may have forgotten about the disrespect and focused more on the silliness of Pippi. She is funny...but you are right that she she infuriates adults...and does not seem to notice. I think she'd drive me bonkers in real life, but she is quick, silly read. :)

(One of the reasons I love to hear your unedited opinion is because you are often much more discerning than myself...)

B said...

Pippi's charming...but I was never much of a fan. The stories didn't really click with me.

Cassandra said...

I thought I was the only one who didn't really care for Pippi! Even as a child I couldn't really understand or appreciate her character. I infinitely prefer Anne. ;)

Shonya said...

=D That's okay, I forgive you. chuckle

I like her spunk--she always made me laugh, and since I was the responsible, boring, obedient, people-pleasing first-born, I admired her fearlessness.

And she's not really an orphan, you know. Her dad is the captain of the Hoptoad and is a chief on some island. . . :D You may just need to read another of the books. giggle

BerlinerinPoet said...

Those crazy Swedes! hahaha
I did like these books when I was a bit younger, but I'm pretty sure I agree with everything you said here. It would be interesting to re-read them as an adult.

Bluerose said...

I haven't read Pippi yet. I remember watching a movie about her in 3rd grade, but I couldn't tell you a thing about it.

Now I'm really curious what my opinion of her will be! :)

Barbara H. said...

I have never read Pippi, either. I saw one program of her when I was young and her pigtails curved up and to the side so much it just seemed so ridiculous, so I was never curious about reading about her.

I used to enjoy Calvin and Hobbes a lot except that I thought he was a bit of a brat sometimes and I cringed at getting humor out of that and wondered if the author was trying to promote some of his own thoughts and feelings through Calvin. But I read one time that he thought Calvin was a brat, too, and just wrote for the humor. Maybe the author of Pippi felt the same way?

Diary of an Autodidact said...

Not only have I read the Pippi books, but we used to watch the old movies when they were on TV. (Low production values, low budget, and almost laughable dubbing, but charming nevertheless)

I'll be Captain Contrary again here, and express my affection for books about "bad" children. Others in the genre would be Tom Sawyer, and The Story of A Bad Boy, by Thomas Bailey Aldrich. Perhaps the Great Brain books qualify as well.

There is a fantasy element here, particularly for boys. I would never DO these things, but it sure is fun to pretend. If one could actually be over-the-top, outrageous, and irritate adults...and not get a good hard swat.

Also, Shonya is on to something. Being the good responsible first born has its drawbacks. An outlet is needed.

Carrie said...

@Shonya & Diary of an A - I, too, am a first born and that argument doesn't really work on me. ;) I LIKE being good and following rules. I LIKE it, I tell you!!

Litterairy said...

I loved Pippi as a kid. I even dressed up as her for a book character birthday party (complete with coat hanger wire in my braids). I'm also a first born, and I agree, it is an escapist fantasy. And as a 2nd or 3rd grader, the simple logic of many of her actions (rolling cookies out on the floor because you have too much dough to fit it on the table) is hilarious in its absurdity. I have read some of them aloud to my kids and they also think they are funny, but I doubt they will mouth off at policemen because of Pippi. If everything she does is ridiculous, then everything she does has to be ridiculous. She can't treat the burglars differently than the policeman. 7 year-olds would complain if she did.

Annette Whipple said...

I love the discussion your book reviews make!

Was actually just thinking about how Pippi wouldn't influence my defiant child...however, we stopped reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Magic when I noticed a certain child was enjoying one particular, newly learned behavior a bit too much. Now those children she relates to...because they are not ridiculous. (We read the first book without issue though.)

Now wouldn't it be fun to have an hour together!?

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I read and liked Pippi as a child, and I've even pushed her own my (mostly compliant) firstborn. Maybe it's because I'm a firstborn rule follower, too? ;-). I mostly think Pippi is absurd & silly fun, and she gets bonus points from me for the Swedish angle because I had a Swedish pen pal for many years. I have to say, too, that we read Lindgren's Noisy Village Christmas book last Christmas for the first time and really liked it.

Stephanie Kay said...

I'm another firstborn rule follower. :) It's possible I read Pippi as a child and just don't remember. All I can remember of her right now is the red braided pig tails sticking out. Might be a fun read aloud with my crew.

Susanne said...

I remember loving Pippi as a kid. I don't remember the disrespect but remember the fun of imagining what it would be like to live on one's own and do whatever one pleased. And maybe being the first born rule follower I lived vicariously through her not following the rules? Hmmm, might have to analyze myself a bit. Ha! Although now at this time in my life, the rule follower mode would definitely kick in and the disrespect is probably the thing that would stick out to me the most. But even as a kid, I always couldn't figure out how she could do it for so long and not want a Mom to take care of her and love on her. LOL. Funny what sticks with a person from something they read as a kid.

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