What Katy Did

by Susan Coolidge

{ 1872 | Roberts Brothers | 240 pgs }

I found What Katy Did on a list of the 100 best books for children, and since it’s an older book, I got it for free on the Kindle. Katy is the eldest of six children whose mother died years ago; they live with their father and their aunt. Katy is mischievous, impulsive, and perhaps irresponsible. When her invalid cousin Helen comes to visit, Katy is struck by how virtuous and lovely Helen is, despite being confined to the couch. Naturally, Katy soon after has a great fall and becomes an invalid herself, since she sustains a back injury that is fairly severe. With cousin Helen’s urging, Katy works to become more virtuous, responsible, nurturing, and patient.

Believe it or not, I actually felt compelled to become more virtuous, reponsible, nurturing, and patient myself after reading this. What Katy Did is a little (!) out of place in contemporary society, and I read some criticism that the book’s aim is to make Katy more “womanly” as the selfless heart of the home. You know what, though? Being selfless and patient is a good goal for anyone, man or woman. While anything can be taken to extremes, I think a little more selflessness and a little less me-first attitude could go a long way right now.

Buy What Katy Did on Amazon


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