Harriet the Spy

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Accessing Your Inner Childhood Spy with Qian Julie Wang


At Shondaland, Qian Julie Wang discusses her memoir, Beautiful Country, a story of immigration and discovery seen through the eyes of an undocumented child. “I was very inspired by Harriet the Spy,” Wang says, “and I wrote down a lot of mundane details of my worlds in hopes that I might be able to solve some sort of mystery. That mystery never materialized, but it really helped me as an adult to look back and try to place myself in that little kid’s shoes. Once I opened the floodgates and really let myself feel everything, it came back fairly quickly. It was really important for me to share the story from that childhood perspective because I know that some of the horrors of life can be much more palatable when presented to adults through the lens of a child, but at the same time deeply disturbing because this is a child who’s filtering it through and not seeing everything that the adult should.”

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