Heidi by Johanna SpyriHeidi, a Swiss book originally published in German in 1881, was one of those books I grew up with: my mother had a simplified, abridged version of it that I read many times and loved as a child. When I realized the GR group Catching up on the Classics was doing it as a group read, I jumped in, excited for the chance to revisit Heidi and her simple, joyous life in the Swiss alps with her grandfather.
Heidi, a 5 year old orphan, has been raised by her mothers sister Dete, who resents the imposition. When Dete gets a good job offer, she marches Heidi up to the Swiss village where she was raised, the (fictional) village of Dorfli (little village) and then even further up the mountain, to dump little Heidi on her unsuspecting grandfather, an embittered recluse. Despite being taken aback, the grandfather quickly takes to Heidi, admiring her intelligence and enthusiasm. She thrives in the lovely Swiss alps and country life, immediately shedding her more citified clothing and ways, and helping the local goatherd Peter.
The Falknis mountain, with its two towers, near where Heidi and Peter tend the goats
Everyone around Heidi grows to love her: her grandfather, Peter, Peters grandmother. The only problem is that Alm-Uncle, her grandfather, has such a deep distrust of people and town life that he refuses to even send her to the village school. Heidi is growing up happy and uncivilized when her aunt Dete suddenly reappears after three years, determined to take Heidi to Frankfurt to be the companion of Clara, a rich but sickly and invalid girl. Our bouncy, enthusiastic girl starts to feel desperately unhappy, cooped up in the big city. But Heidi has lessons to learn, and God has a plan.
I loved the detailed descriptions of the lovely Alps and life there in olden times. I suppose Heidi is a bit of a Mary Sue character, but her exuberant nature, jumping around all the time like a young goat, was charming. And -- continuing the animal metaphors -- I really felt for her when she felt like a trapped bird in Frankfurt, though the wasting away thing was a bit over the top.
The Alm-Uncles character, bitter toward mankind generally but loving toward his bright granddaughter, seemed entirely believable to me, and honestly I got a bit teary as he began, like the prodigal son in Christs parable, to find his way back to harmony with God and with his fellow men. Claras devout grandmamma is a paragon of saintliness but has a little humor to leaven her spiritual lessons to Heidi; Peters ailing, blind grandmother is equally devout but would fit in well with other Victorian-era sickly but wise characters.
The preachiness got a little too heavy-handed toward the end, although I did appreciate the message of continuing to trust God even when your prayers arent answered immediately, and at the same time needing to take action to improve your own circumstances, as much as you can. I also cant help but be charmed with the notion that country living, with lots of fresh goat milk and toasted goat cheese on bread, brisk mountain air and the beauty of nature, heals pretty much everything.
Mmmmm! ... okay, actually I dont like goat cheese, toasted or otherwise, but I have to say Heidi tempts me to give it another shot.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Heidi and her friends again, after many years apart. I recommend Heidi to readers who like old-fashioned childrens classics, like Anne of Green Gables, and dont mind a healthy dose of religious content in their reading.
A note on English translations: Since this book is over 100 years old, its out of copyright and there are several free English versions available. I read parts of Heidi in German and did some comparisons between the three English versions I found on Project Gutenberg. None of them completely satisfied me, but I thought this one was the best, closest to the original German text without being unbearably awkward: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1448. Im sure there are better translations out there, but I was working with what I could find free online. Whatever version you pick up, make sure you get both halves of the story, which was originally published in two parts (the second half has Clara visiting Switzerland).
Heidi (by Johanna Spyri) [Full AudioBook]
Johanna Spyri Interesting Facts : Page 3
Index Newest Popular Best. Join FunTrivia for Free : Hourly trivia games, quizzes, community, and more! Accuracy : A team of editors takes feedback from our visitors to keep trivia as up to date and as accurate as possible. Related quizzes can be found here: Johanna Spyri Quizzes There are 50 questions on this topic. Last updated Sep 22 Search in topic:. Heidi agrees to go to Frankfurt on the condition that she will get white rolls for Grannie, so she will not need to eat hard, black bread.
Johanna Spyri 12 June — 7 July wrote stories for children in the German language. Her most famous book was Heidi. She was born Johanna Heusser in Hirzel , Switzerland. Her father was a doctor and her mother was a poet. She lived with her extended family: her grandmother, two aunties, and two cousins as well as her mother, father, two brothers and three sisters.
Johanna [Joan] Spyri , maiden name Johanna Heusser was born in a small village called Hirzel , some 25 km [15 miles] southeast of Zurich, Switzerland, on June 12, , as the daughter of a country doctor. She died in Zurich on July 7, Johanna Spyri's story of Heidi , the girl from the Alps, became a world-wide success story already towards the end of the 19th century and children do still like it today - as a book, as a radio play and as a movie. Heidi is by far the most popular work of Swiss literature and has been translated from German into 50 languages, been filmed more than a dozen times, and more than 50 million copies of Heidi books have been sold world-wide Switzerland's population is only 7 million Among these, four have found special resonance, but only the two Heidi volumes have become really popular:.
Her psychological insight into the child mind, her humour, and her ability to enter into childish joys and sorrows give her books appeal and lasting value. Her love of homeland, feeling for nature, unobtrusive piety, and cheerful wisdom gave both her work and her life their unique quality. Johanna Spyri. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. See Article History.