I read this book as part of a Hardbound set of 12 Classics that my mom picked up for me when I was in class V. I fell in love with this set as it was hardbound and every book was of a different colour. The Heidi was a vivid orange and I fell in love with the premise of a young girl living in Swiss Alps amidst all the nature and fresh air. I had just watched the movie The sound of music and the scenery seemed similar and equally enchanting.
Author: Johanna Spyri
Genre: Classic Literature
Publication: Harper Collins
Johanna Spyri was a Swiss writer and wrote children’s books. Heidi is one of her most acclaimed piece of works and it was originally written in German and later translated into English. This book was published in 1881 and was first published as a series of two books, later merged into one.
When Heidi is orphaned, her maternal aunt tries to bring her up initially. As Heidi turns 5, she drops her off at her paternal grandfather’s house in the Swiss mountains. Her grandfather is an embittered old man who has lost all faith in god and doesn’t get along with his neighbours. At first he objects to her presence but soon her bubbly nature wins him over and he begins to teach her the ways of a mountain life.
Good natured Heidi finds a faithful friend in Peter- her neighbour and Bridget his mother. She also grows very fond of Peter’s blind grandmother. Heidi learns to take the goats for grazing and comes to love the fresh air of the mountains.
“I want to go about like the light-footed goats.”
― Johanna Spyri,
Soon her aunt returns to take 8-year-old Heidi to Frankfurt where she has been retained to be the companion for a 12-year-old German girl Clara who is an invalid. Clara falls in love with Heidi’s uninhibited ways, much to the chagrin of the strict housekeeper Fräulein Rottenmeier who keeps pulling her up. When its discovered that Heidi can’t read or write, Clara’s tutor is instructed to teach her too. Heidi begins to love the schoolwork though she longs for the mountains. Soon she becomes homesick.
“The poor child felt like a little bird that is placed in a glittering cage.”
― Johanna Spyri,
One night the Sessemann’s household is alarmed by the sightings of a ghost which becomes a daily thing. The kind doctor sets up watch one night and discovers that Heidi has taken to sleep walking due to her homesickness. He advice that she be returned to her home.
An overjoyed Heidi reunites with her grandfather and teaches him about God and prayers- something she learns about in Frankfurt. She manages to break through his resilience; so much so that he surprises the entire village by attending a sunday session in the church.
The doctor comes visiting to see how Heidi is doing and realises that the mountain air will do much good for Clara. Soon Clara comes to stay with Heidi and is fed a steady diet of goat’s milk and fresh cheese. Peter becomes jealous of her monopoly on Heidi’s time and in a fit of rage pushes her wheelchair down the mountain. He then repents and confesses.
Meanwhile Clara has no option but to learn to walk and soon becomes healthy and whole. The book ends with the Sessemann’s promising a permanent home for Heidi, should her grandfather be no longer be able to provide for her.
Lasting impression on me:
Where do I begin for this book made me want to visit Heidi and live in the mountains. The simple tale of a sweet-natured girl who has no guile in her and seems to find joy in the ordinary of things is very inspiring. She makes friends easily and is well liked wherever she goes.
The simplicity of pure living and a pure heart is at the core of this book and found much love from me. It remains to date one of the most favourite books that I have read and has a very special place on my bookshelf.
This is again a 5***** rated book from my shelf and I can’t seem to get enough of it. I recommend this a must read for every child to know about the fearless ways of a child allowed to run free in nature.
I am on a no-book-buying pact as I am pretty much broke; not to mention that I am running out of space as well!! But incase anyone wants to trade their books or send me gifts, please do check out my Wishlist on Amazon & Want to read on Goodreads.
For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except Sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.
The A to Z Challenge is created by Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by
Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts
John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing
J Lenni Dorner of Blog of J. Lenni Dorner
Some of my previous posts you might be interested in catching up on