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Introduction & Overview of The Little Friend by Donna Tartt

This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Little Friend.
This section contains 281 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
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The Little Friend Summary & Study Guide Description

The Little Friend Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on The Little Friend by Donna Tartt.


Fans and critics had been eagerly looking forward to The Little Friend (2002), Donna Tartt's second novel, since her literary debut—a decade earlier. After taking the literary world by storm with The Secret History (1992), Tartt spent ten years crafting her sophomore effort. The Little Friend is set in the fictional community of Alexandria, Mississippi, which is similar to the two communities in which the author lived as a child, Greenwood and Grenada, Mississippi.

In The Little Friend, Tartt explores racial and social life in the South in the late 1970s through the filter of the murder of nine-year-old Robin Dufresnes, which occurred twelve years earlier. Robin's now twelve-year-old sister Harriet takes it upon herself to try and exact revenge on the man she believed murdered him, Danny Ratliff. Hely, who harbors a crush on Harriet, aids Harriet in her quest. Her difficult home life is also a significant focus as the family was devastated by the loss of Robin and never fully recovered. The girl's experiences makes The Little Friend very much a coming-of-age story.

Like Tartt herself, intelligent, outcast Harriet loves reading books and is particularly influenced by classics such as Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Tartt admitted to Dennis Moore of USA Today, "This book is really about other books that I loved in childhood." Critics often compared it to her first novel, The Secret History, and generally found The Little Friend to be a complex, well-crafted book. Writing in the Houston Chronicle, Earl L. Dachslager commented, "Tartt's new novel is denser, more multilayered, than her first. More mature, one could say, and thus a bit heavier and slower, but for all that no less enjoyable and readable."

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This section contains 281 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Little Friend Study Guide
The Little Friend from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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