Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ronia, the Robber's Daughter, by Astrid Lindgren


Another classic from my childhood. Lindgren is a very capable Swedish author (best known for Pippi Longstocking and Mio, My Son), and this book is a great example. Lindgren presents the life of a robber's daughter quite compellingly--the day to day pleasures of life in and around the woods are told in vivid detail; the reality of robbing and other adult concerns are only vaguely addressed. In that sense, it is very like a child's view of life. Ronia, the title character, is spunky and courageous, and her friendship with Birk, the rival chieftain's son, is quite touching. The family unit is portrayed fairly well. There is some violence, though it's mostly fear of things about to happen--there is not much gore. Overall, the book has good things to say about the foolishness of feuds (and possibly even racism), the wisdom of children, the love of a father for his daughter, the importance of friendship, and the morality of robbery as a career. The story largely reads like a children's story--that is, a story from the child's point of view. Some problems loom larger, while others recede into almost nothing...and not the problems you'd expect from an adult point of view. It's artfully done, and the result is a fun yet compelling story. Which is hardly surprising, from Lindgren.

Definitely worth reading.

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