Book Review: Heidi by Johanna Spyri

This is a childhood book for many people, but for some reason I never read the full book. I had a shorter picture book of it and I watched multiple movies, but never did I actually read the entire book. Since it’s relatively short, I added it to my list of books to read for BookTubeAThon and honestly this book took less than two hours to read.

If you are a massive fan of the book, keep in mind that I am looking at it from an adult reader’s perspective, so that things that I would take for granted as a young reader now stand out more to me. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the review.

Release: 1880

Synopsis: Heidi is an unwanted orphan who is sent to live with her gruff grandfather who dwells up in the mountains. There, her kindness melts the old man’s heart as she befriends the local people and falls in love with the natural beauty around her. However, soon she is sent to be the companion to a crippled girl and she must fight to find happiness and care for those around her.


I have mixed feelings about this book. It is cute, to be sure, but I found it so saccharinely cute that it lost all meaningfulness for me. Every character is a caricature as opposed to a real person, and all the conflicts are resolved simply by Heidi’s adorableness. There was little realism, and any time I thought the book would become more meaningful, it did not. Saying that, if you like cute books with little realism but happy endings, this book is for you.

There are many things to like about this book. There are themes of honesty (Peter lies about pushing Claire’s wheelchair down the mountain and the guilt eats at him) as well as never judge a book by its cover (Heidi’s grandfather is considered a gruff, mean man, and yet he is so gentle with Heidi). I can see why many people love this book, but I’m the type of reader who thrives on drama, realism, and complex characters, none of which were featured in this book.

There are also a number of adorably hilarious scenes. Like Heidi’s constant need to bring strange animals into the house she works in, much to the dismay of Miss Rottenmeier, Claire’s caretaker (and what a name too). The scenes in the Swiss Alps are also lovely and if I spoke German I am certain I would read this book in the original language. The descriptions of the mountains are indeed lovely and Heidi’s friendship with the goats is cute.

I honestly don’t have much to say about this book, meaning this will be a short review. It was okay for the type of book it was, but I constantly kept wanting more. More adventure, more excitement, more character depth, etc.

Have you guys read this book? Did you like it growing up? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more madness and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Madame Writer

12 thoughts on “Book Review: Heidi by Johanna Spyri

    1. and it’s really beautiful, especially the natural scenes. I totally agree with you. It’s simplistic for an adult. It’s more like a pure and beautiful fairytale intended for children, which teach them some fantastic values.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah. As my teacher says,
          Writing fairytales and children’s book is not as simple as we think. It’s quite demanding for authors to combine fantasy, simplicity with complex values.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I think as a child I would have loved it too and it does have great themes of honestly and kindness that are important for children to learn. So for children, I think it is a great book, but as an adult it does read quite differently. Thanks!


  1. “Heidi” was a childhood favorite. I wanted to have a menagerie too, and I felt sorry for the strictures of Clara’s life. As an adult, I understand that this book was a product of its time, and what people thought was appropriate behavior for children.

    I also blame this book for my love of goats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Goats are amazing creatures! I can’t disagree on that. Also, I think if I read it as a child, I probably would have loved it. Now my book tastes as an adult are so different.


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