I first read this book when I was in my early twenties. I started out not liking Hagar at all because I thought her so difficult and ungrateful for what people did for her. But as I read on, getting to know Hagar, I grew to understand and to like her more. Over the years, the person of Hagar, with her pride and, because of that pride, her loneliness, stayed with me. Whenever I met an old person who seemed difficult and unreasonable, I would often think of Hagar, and wonder what that person's life had been like. Now I'm 72 and have just reread the book. I'd pretty well forgotten the story, but remembered Hagar's feistiness and I was able to empathise with her much more quickly. I don't remember noticing before how often people are infuriatingly condescending to her, and my appreciation of her sharp responses. This is a book that I think should be read twice, or maybe many times, as one grows older and gets a different perspective on life. If I'm still around at 90, perhaps I'll read it again and see how it affects me then.

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