Patty in the City

June 8, 2007

As I expected, Patty in the City was kind of awesome. Proportion is still mentioned, but only when called for, and Patty finally meets the Farringtons and it turns out that they have a bowling alley inside their house.

Patty’s dad decided that they should spend the winter in New York. He clearly likes the city better than Vernondale, and also, it makes it easier to visit Nan in Philadelphia. They bring Grandma Elliot with them and move into an apartment hotel, and Patty enrolls in Miss Oliphant’s school.

The first girl she meets is Lorraine Hamilton, who lives in the same building and also goes to the Oliphant. She’s kind of a sourpuss, but Patty doesn’t have any other friends, so she hangs out with Lorraine. When she first gets to school, everyone snubs her. She’s pretty upset. Not only is she used to making friends really quickly, but she has no idea why no one seems to like her .

She makes a bargain with her father: if she still hates school and has no friends at the end of the week, he’ll let her stop going. Seriously, her father is way too easy on her. But it doesn’t become a problem, because on Friday a nice girl called Clementine Morse tells Patty that everyone’s ignoring her because she hangs out so much with Lorraine, who nobody likes. She decides to go back the next week, and soon makes two more friends, Adelaide Hart and Hilda Henderson.

The girls at the Oliphant are divided into three general groups: The Digs, who do nothing but study; the Prigs, who are rich and stuck-up; and the Gigs, who only care about having fun. Patty doesn’t feel like she fits in with any of the groups, although I think her friends mostly classify themselves as Gigs. Then one day Hilda, who is English, uses the expression “merry as a grig,” and Patty proposes that they start a club of Grigs, whose common interest and purpose is to be merry. They decide to have eight people in their club, for a start, and each member gets to choose one person. Adelaide chooses her sister Editha, Clem Morse chooses someone called Flossy, and Hilda chooses a girl called Margaret. Patty doesn’t have anyone in particular to invite. She’d like to have Lorraine join, but she knows that Lorraine isn’t merry enough yet.

Then Elise Farrington arrives at the Oliphant. She’s every bit as rich as the Prigs, but not nearly as stuck-up, although she’s kind of bossy. She takes an immediate liking to Patty, and is soon invited to join the Grigs. And if they didn’t want her for herself, she could probably have bribed her way in pretty easily, because her father has made over the house adjoining theirs into a gigantic recreation center, with bowling alleys and tennis courts and things.

Most of Patty’s old friends are present, too, in one way or another. They’re able to see Kenneth and Mr. Hepworth much more often now that they live in the city, and they make the occasional trip back to Vernondale. Patty also invites her cousin Ruth from Boston to stay over Christmas. And then there’s Clifford Morse, Clementine’s brother, and Roger Farrington, Elise’s brother — Roger looks pretty grumpy when Patty first meets him, and when she asks why, he says he’s thinking about something bad that’s going to happen.

Patty: Maybe it won’t happen after all.

Roger: No, it definitely will.

Patty: Why, what is it?

Roger: I have to break my arm.

Which is really just a dramatic way of saying that he has to have a bone reset.

The whole thing is lots of fun. Sometimes things that I’m reading make me grin for a few minutes, but for the last few chapters of Patty in the City I was just smiling a bit the whole time.

click for more patty.



  1. Dang nabbit, she gets to her second day at school and the Google preview runs out. I was forced to ILL loan this, which I almost never do for pleasure reading. I wish they were *all* on my kindle!

    • Yeah, it’s super frustrating that the whole series isn’t available online, especially since they’re all comfortably within the public domain. I ended up buying all the books on eBay, but borrowing them is probably more sensible.

  2. […] Patty in the city: had to interlibrary loan this one. A fun confection. […]

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