Originally posted 2015-12-03 17:00:56.
Day 3 of the new challenge from Books and Cupcakes where we will be focusing on children’s books! This was a childhood favourite of mine that I’ve come to look at through a slightly more critical lens. Katy, a high-spirited tomboy, falls from a swing one day and spends several years bed bound. During this time she learns the error of her ways through the patient guidance of saint-like Cousin Helen (who is also unable to walk, permanently in her case). As a child I loved the order Katy eventually imposes on the entire household (in particular her bedroom which she endeavours to make a welcoming environment for all her visitors). Indeed so inspired was I by this that I once confessed to my father that reading What Katy Did made me want to clean my bedroom; he replied “That’s great, perhaps we can get you another book that makes you want to clean the whole house!” As an adult I am more critical about the life lessons What Katy Did imparts. The book reflects the time and values of the period in which it was written (1870). Through the course of the book Katy arguably loses much of her spirit, energy and character to become an ordinary proper little lady. These are not messages I would now want for my daughter (although the “Be careful on a broken swing” message is one I’m firmly behind). Before her accident while Katy might have been flawed she was human. So this is a book I consider overrated by the child in me, but it has to be said reading it ensured I always had a very tidy bedroom.