• The Little Friend

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: Karen White
  • Length: 25 hrs and 53 mins
  • 3.6 out of 5 stars (1,117 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The second novel by Donna Tartt,  best-selling author of The Goldfinch (winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize), The Little Friend is a grandly ambitious and utterly riveting novel of childhood, innocence, and evil. The setting is Alexandria, Mississippi, where one Mother’s Day a little boy named Robin Cleve Dufresnes was found hanging from a tree in his parents’ yard. 

Twelve years later Robin’s murder is still unsolved and his family remains devastated. So it is that Robin’s sister Harriet - unnervingly bright, insufferably determined, and unduly influenced by the fiction of Kipling and Robert Louis Stevenson - sets out to unmask his killer. Aided only by her worshipful friend Hely, Harriet crosses her town’s rigid lines of race and caste and burrows deep into her family’s history of loss. 

Filled with hairpin turns of plot and “a bustling, ridiculous humanity worthy of Dickens” (The New York Times Book Review), The Little Friend is a work of myriad enchantments by a writer of prodigious talent.

©2002 Donna Tartt (P)2002 Books On Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This extraordinary book [has] a main character, a twelve-year-old girl named Harriet Cleve Dufresnes, who ranks up there with Huck Finn, Miss Havisham, Quentin Compson, and Philip Marlowe, fictional characters who don't seem in the least fictional.... To Kill a Mockingbird If is the childhood that everyone wanted and no one really had, The Little Friend is childhood as it is, by turns enchanting and terrifying." (Malcolm Jones, Newsweek)

"Breathtaking... A sublime tale rich in religious overtones, moral ambiguities, and violent, poetic acts... From its darkly enticing opening, we are held spellbound." (Lisa Shea, Elle)

"It is an exceptionally suspenseful, flawlessly written story." (Booklist)

"Languidly atmospheric...psychologically acute...A rich novel that takes you somewhere worth going." (The New Yorker

What listeners say about The Little Friend

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Couldn't put it down

What made the experience of listening to The Little Friend the most enjoyable?

The richly drawn cast of characters is I think the main strength of this book. If you've ever spent time in the South, especially during the time frame she's set this story in, you will agree I think that she really nails it about how people interact, what small towns were like there, etc. The book revolves around an event that takes place (in memory) within the first chapter or so. The rest of the book is loosely organized around the mysterious circumstances that surround that event, a death. Eleven (?) year old Harriet, the central character, is worth the read all by herself. Donna Tarrt could not have done a better job in bringing her to life and making you care deeply about her. I laughed a lot as her thought processes unfolded, as she engaged in her amateur sleuth work, and as she enlisted the help of her adoring young friend with her plans. One reviewer mentioned Nancy Drew. Hardly. This is an adult book, with adult themes. I would challenge those who said it was too long to detail what parts of the plot/story they would have edited out. My book group could not come up with anything they'd have taken out, even though the length of the book is a bit daunting. It is a gripping story and you care deeply about many of the characters. The ending for many, including several in my book group, felt very unsatisfying, I will grant you that. But as we talked about it, we decided that this book was less mystery than it is a study of a time and a place and the ways in which people come to wrong conclusions based on their prejudices, misconceptions, and miscommunications. Those wrong conclusions change whole lives and can be tragic. Many things DO NOT get

48 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The Little Friend's Friend

I stumbled across this book at the store and it caught my interest at once. When I got home I looked it up on audible...low and behold! After listening to this book and reading other people's reviews I feel compelled to share my own thoughts...I really enjoyed this book and was sad when it was over. I enjoyed Karen White's narration as well, though when I first sampled the book I wasn't sure what to think...Her voice grows on you and did for me rather quickly...she sets the tone of this story perfectly. I'm giving a four star review because Donna Tartt does tend to drag some of the more minor details out for way too long...I found my mind wandering more then once, but all in all, this is rich and grand story telling...Some people have complained that the novel ends with too much left in the air, but I don't think so, I felt the story ended where it should for what the story was about.

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

But I invested 22 hours!

After Donna Tart skillfully pulled me into this fascinating and well-constructed drama, got me to understand and feel for the vivid characters (Go, Harriet!), and wove an intriguingly tangled yet believable web between them, she just CUT OFF the story! I thought there must have been a Part 4 I'd forgotten to download. While some stories end this way on purpose (real life often has loose ends, right?) they usually let you know in some way that it's been done on purpose, that you're supposed to ponder something because of it, etc. This one just ended with NOTHING. All the loose ends were still loose, and more was unresolved than at the beginning. Which would have been ok, really, if Ms. Tart had just communicated in some way that this was the point of the whole thing. The way she left it, however, was very disappointing. Especially since I didn't want to put it down! I feel so cheated.

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

bad ending, bad narrator

As others have pointed out, this book ended incredibly abruptly. It really was a shock that it ended as it did, I've never been so disappointed. I also felt the cadences of the reader were annoying, and I will avoid books read by her in the future...seemed like she was barking the story.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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Just could not listen

I found this narrator so difficult to listen to; I gave up on this book after about an hour, and cannot give it an honest appraisal. Her dialect/accent seems disingenuous and she often ends her sentences on an interrogatory upwards note, which is usually indicative of someone lacking confidence. I also found her frequent, audible deep breaths to be so distracting that I just couldn't continue. The book sounds worth reading, and I adored Ms. Tartt's The Goldfinch, so I will read the book in print as an alternative.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Snail Tale

While this book in my opinion has a potentially great story, interesting narrative viewpoint and is full of subtle and complex perceptions from the protagonist's inner landscape, it moves way too slowly and lingers far too long on every description, nuance and gesture. An hour into Part One I realized the snail's pace of the narrative and decided to skip to Part Three, and surprise surprise, I didn't miss much. I finished Part Three and now will probably go back and read Part Two (saving it for when I'm in between really good reads), but this book suffers from a serious lack of energy and momentum. And then to top it all off, even though some elements of the story have been resolved, the ending comes as an abrupt disconnect, small consolation for all the hours the reader has invested in these characters!

23 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

What disappointed you about The Little Friend?

The narration.

Would you ever listen to anything by Donna Tartt again?

Yes.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

As another reviewer put it, I felt I was being "barked at." The narration was so distracting I quit in less than an hour.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Didn't listen long enough to know.

Any additional comments?

I loved The Goldfinch and had been looking forward to another Donna Tartt book I hope narrators of her future books will be more carefully chosen.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator distracts from the story

I just finished The Goldfinch and enjoyed it immensely, so thought I would enjoy The Little Friend. It is set in the south and the narrator has a very distracting southern accent. I am a southerner myself, but could not identify what the accent was supposed to be. But the worst part was that every sentence sounded like it had an exclamation point at the end(!) It was so artificial that I could not pay attention to the story. I quit after a few chapters and bought the hardcover book.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Book

I absolutely love this book. The characters are eccentric and the story is electric! This book is combines mystery, suspense, and comedy. I can still visualize some of the scenes and chuckle.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Whodunit?

I really enjoyed listening to this book but felt that it needed another few chapters. Left me hanging for closure

10 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 03-07-15

dissapointing

Relative to other wonderful books by the same author this was a profound letdown in pretty much every regard. Disjoined illogical story and boring. When I finished reading it all the threads of the storey lay unresolved and I felt I had wasted my time.

1 person found this helpful

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