Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy

Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy

by Leslie Brody


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In this inspiring 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. Its beloved antiheroine, Harriet, is erratic, unsentimental, and endearing — very much like the woman who created her, Louise Fitzhugh.
Born in 1928, Fitzhugh was raised in segregated Memphis, but she soon escaped her cloistered world and headed for New York, where her expanded milieu stretched from the lesbian bars of Greenwich Village to the art world of postwar Europe, and her circle of friends included members of the avant-garde like Maurice Sendak and Lorraine Hansberry. Fitzhugh's novels, written in an era of political defiance, are full of resistance: to authority, to conformity, and even — radically, for a children's author — to make-believe.
As a children's author and a lesbian, Fitzhugh was often pressured to disguise her true nature. Sometimes You Have to Lie tells the story of her hidden life and of the creation of her masterpiece, which remains long after her death as a testament to the complicated relationship between truth, secrecy, and individualism.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580057691
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 12/01/2020
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 574,079
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.30(d)

About the Author

Leslie Brody is a biographer, playwright, and professor of creative writing. She adapted Harriet the Spy for the stage in 1988 and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award and a PEN America award for creative nonfiction. She has been an on-staff book columnist for Elle magazine. She lives in Redlands, California.

Table of Contents

Introduction A Nasty Girl and Horrid Example 1

Part 1

Prologue 13

1 Classified 15

2 Clear and Present Danger 27

3 Interrogation 37

4 Intelligence 49

5 Best Assets 63

6 Master of Disguise 73

7 Private Investigator 83

Part 2

8 Clues 99

9 Rout 119

10 Snoop 135

11 Detect 149

12 Agency 169

13 Agent Harriet 181

14 Divided Loyalties 195

Part 3

15 Luck, Speculation, Windfalls 213

16 Tradecraft 233

17 Survey the Locality 249

18 Witness 261

Afterword 277

Author's Note 289

Acknowledgments 291

Note on Sources 295

Notes 297

Credits 321

Index 323

Illustration section appears after page 168

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