3 out of 5 stars
Pippi is one of those books/characters that is probably better off left behind in your childhood memories. Reading her as an adult was excruciating and a little bit sad. As a child, you hear about this amazing girl who lives on her own with her horse and monkey and gets to do whatever she wants, with no adults to ever tell her no. She has fantastical adventures, can go to bed whenever she wants, doesn't have to go to school, nothing bad ever happens to her, and everything is always wonderful in Pippi's world. (Even with her father, the infamous cannibal king, missing at sea.) Who wouldn't love this book, as a child? Who of us never dreamed of being Tommy and Annika, with Pippi as a neighbor? Getting to go on picnics and running into an angry bull, discovering secret clubhouses in hollowed out trees, playing "don't touch the floor" in the kitchen (okay, my sister and I actually did that one in the living room lol), watching Pippi fly thru the air at the circus and beat the strongest man ever. Overall, this is the perfect adventure book for children and it's evident why it's a classic.
However, reading it as an adult brings on a completely different tone. You begin to feel sorry for Pippi, being alone all the time. Many of the chapters are tinged with sadness, such as when she makes the burglars stay and play with her til 3 in the morning and then gives them a little gold for their trouble. Or when Pippi goes to Tommy & Annika's for a coffee party and their mother scolds her for not behaving.
Pippi looked at her in astonishment and her eyes slowly filled with tears. "That's just what I was afraid of," she said. "That I couldn't behave properly. It's no use to try; I'll never learn. I should have stayed on the ocean."
The child just wants to be loved. And honestly, she needs a little discipline. You know you're getting older when you want to just spank the child for behaving like that lol.
And then there was the question of her amazing strength and ability to wriggle out of any sticky situation. Why is she so strong? Genetics? Did Mr Nilsson bite her in a rabies-induced rage? Children don't question those kinds of things, but it just seems odd to an adult. I feel like if Pippi had either not had her super-human strength or got into a little more trouble occasionally, the story would have been more believable. She is never held accountable for her actions, she always manages to get out of a bad situation. That makes the story a little boring at times, honestly. And then there's the lying. Oh, the lying is awful. What parent would want to read this book to their child?? Luckily, children aren't quite so closed minded as adults and just see the story for what it is...a fantastical story about a fantastical little girl with red braids and a monkey on her shoulder.