“Jen Michalski’s second novel is an intense emotional commitment, but a worthwhile one.” – Ploughshares
“Jen is an astonishingly sensitive writer.” – HTML Giant
“Jen Michalski excels in subtlety that is made possible by her nuanced understanding of voice.” – The Rumpus
“Jen is a writerly heavyweight.” – Nate Brown, American Short Fiction
“We’re lucky to have Michalski before the rest of the world discovers her. But they will.” – Baltimore City Paper
My First Book Love: Harriet the Spy
On David Abrams' blog, "The Quivering Pen," I wrote an essay for his "My First Time" series about my first book love, Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy.
When I was younger, bands like REM, The Pixies, and Siouxsie and the Banshees crowded my mix tapes, and Salinger, Bukowski, and Kerouac lined my bookshelves. I thought I was queen shit. It wasn’t until I was older when I realized that the bands I listened to uncritically as a child, like Fleetwood Mac, with their perfect pop, emotional masterpiece Rumors and new-wave forerunner Tusk, influenced my music pedigree way more than the cool kids from Sire and Matador Records. And it wasn’t until I was way, way older when I realized the book that influenced me most as a reader and writer was not some Faulknerian or Russian masterpiece, anything written by Gertrude Stein, or even some stream-of-conscious beat paperback but a children’s book—about a girl who wants to be a spy.