"Watch Choate get Joan Didion while we're being read Eloise at the Plaza."
- Paris Geller, "Gilmore Girls"
Kay Thompson's "Eloise" is the story of a six-year-old girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Her parents travel quite a bit, so she lives there with her nanny, her pet dog, and her pet turtle. She is a curious child who gets into all sorts of adventure and mischief at the Plaza.
I remember the episode quoted above ("I Solemnly Swear") and laughing when Paris compared the top education they were receiving at Chilton to listening to someone read Eloise at the Plaza. Only Paris would view one of the most competitive fictitious schools this way.
While Eloise may not address the large issues of the individual and social fragmentation that Joan Didion addresses, it is still a wonderful book that should be read and reread. Eloise gives a glimpse into a life that many cannot imagine. We get this glimpse into life inside the Plaza hotel. We see the world trough the eyes of a child who is hilarious, misses her parents, adores her nanny and her pets, and sees New York City in a way most adults often overlook. One of her favorite phrases is "Charge it please!" making her sound wise beyond her years, when she is really just a young child.
Interestingly, when rereading this book specifically for this project, it reminded me of The Nanny Diaries. Both stories show a child growing up in New York City, with more financial resources than many could ever imagine. Both children are funny, quirky, and adorable, but both miss their parents immensely. Having spent most my childhood in a more suburban or even country setting, I love the opportunity these books give me to see a very different childhood. While our childhoods are different, both have their own strengths and weaknesses. I enjoy the opportunity to see, through these books, a life I did not experience, but can imagine while I jump inside the pages of these books.