Homesick Essay - Critical Essays

Jean Fritz


Fritz prefaces her book with a foreword that explains its episodic nature. Concerned with presenting how she felt as a young child, she concentrates on vivid incidents and compresses the whole of her childhood into two years, 1925 to 1927. Fritz further explains that, in addition to compressing time and resequencing true events, she added minor “fictional bits” to stitch the story together, as well as conversations, “for I cannot think of my childhood without hearing voices.” As a distinguished biographer for young readers, Fritz is keenly aware of the differences between fact and fiction, and she therefore acknowledges that “strictly speaking,” the story is fiction even though only minor details have been invented. At the same time, like many autobiographers, she is most concerned with emotional truth, which prompts her to state that Homesick “is my story, told as truly as I can tell it.”

Fritz’s compression of time offers her several advantages in terms of telling a good story. The most technical advantage involves the point of view from which Homesick is told. It is not reported in hindsight but rather from the author’s perspective at the time. Placing the events in Fritz’s late childhood or early adolescence, ages ten through twelve, makes her old enough to be articulate and young enough to retain a child’s point of view, a perspective often appealing to young readers.

Another advantage of this...

(The entire section is 523 words.)