Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Little Locksmith

I stumbled onto The Little Locksmith, originally published in
1943, several years ago in that lovely old bookshop with the
creaky hardwood floors. After reading it, I could not believe this
little book was not a well known classic. It is not at all a juvenile
book, as the title might suggest. Katharine Butler Hathaway
writes of her hardships in overcoming physical deformity as
a result of spinal tuberculosis, eventually gaining her
independence and attaining a career as an accomplished writer.
I immediately connected with her on so many emotional levels.
Her memoir is simple, honest and fresh; touching without being
too sweet or sentimental. It is rare to find such a straightforward
testament to the human spirit. If The Criterion Collection
included books, this one would certainly be included. This little
gem was finally discovered and reprinted in 2000, by The
Feminist Press. I highly suggest to go ahead and buy this book,
because you will want to own a copy for your personal collection.


  1. This is an inspiring recommendation. I have put it on the shopping list. Thanks Willow. :)

  2. I will look for this book - it does sound insprirational - and can you believe (shhhh! keep this part secret) it's as old as moi!!!!

    Hope life at the manor is going well today - and do have a wonderful week. If this heavy pollen clears, and I can breathe again, I have plans to work outside as much as possible. Everything is growing rapidly now!

  3. I plan on being out this week, also. Much of the dead plant material from last season needs to be cleaned away. Not quite as fun as potting the new stuff! Yes, it's itchy eye and cough season for me, too, unfortunately.

  4. Hi Willow; I'm intrigued by this book and the artful simplicity of the cover. Tell me, what does the title "The Little Locksmith" refer to?

  5. Willow... For good reads, your recommendations are right on spot. I've written it down...Just not enough hours in the day it seems for all we want to do and see..
    and that's the way I want to keep it.. :) good wishes for the day..

  6. Lavinia, "the little locksmith" is a reference to a little old locksmith who did some work at her childhood home...and having the same deformity, she felt a certain symbolism.

  7. A book I read years ago, a novel called "The Pink House" had as its central character a little lame girl who, when orphaned, goes to live with her cousins. She is treated somewhat cruelly by them, and her cold, unloving aunt. But there is someone in the household--a spinster aunt, who takes the child under her wing. The aunt is tough, somewhat gruff, certainly no softie, but she has the childs best interests at heart and the book is a good read about the girl's development in coping with her handicap and realizing her full potential. I think it sounds similar to your book recommendation.

  8. Yes, a little similar. The thing I like about this book is that Butler Hathaway's writing style holds it's own in today's's fresh and sparkling. She was ahead of her time as a writer. And being her own memoirs, it is all historically true!

  9. I've added it to my list that I always carry around with me in my purse, just in case I need it when I'm out and about---thank you for the recommendation.

  10. Sara, I thought of you and that wonderful second hand book store you frequent! You would enjoy this book.

  11. Willow, Thanks for coming by and leaving such a nice compliment. I am visiting your blog for the first time. Willow Manor has a British ring to it. I will need to come back for a more detailed look. Please come by anytime.

  12. I want to read this book, too! And I want you to take me to that bookstore! visit! :)

  13. Butler Hathaway? What a name! I wonder if its a nom de plume.

    Storm Jamieson is another author with a great name, as is Rumer Godden and Temple Bailey

  14. Lavinia, I was referring to Katharine Butler Hathaway, the author of "The Little Locksmith". It's her actual name.

  15. Betsy, yes, let's go! It's down near Clintonville...stuffed with old books...a treasure trove!

  16. Willow, I keep meaning to ask you - what is that elegant little dog with the eyeglasses on your side bar? It's very endearing. :)

  17. Well...I wish I could say he was my brilliant little dog, but alas, he is but a greeting card.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)