The Poor Little Rich GirlSeptember 4, 2009
I didn’t really like The Poor Little Rich Girl, by Eleanor Gates. I thought the first part was sort of good: Gwendolyn, the title character barely sees her wealthy parents, and her governess, her nurse, and the footman are sort of in league against her–they threaten her, take advantage of their position, and conspire to keep her from telling her mother and father how unhappy she is. It’s kind of intense, and a little bit difficult to read, because you really get a sense of Gwendolyn’s frustration and unhappiness.
Then the nurse gives her an overdose of some kind of drug, and Gwendolyn goes into a Alice in Wonderland/Wizard of Oz-ish kind of fantasy land, where all the people she knows appear in different guises and the idioms that Gwendolyn doesn’t understand are all interpreted literally. The dream-sequence was apparently the point of the story, but I felt like it went on for far too long. The book feels unbalanced and kind of uncomfortable. It’s fairly well-written, I think, but not at all fun to read, which is the ultimate sin for a children’s book.