Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kit Kittredge: The Depressing American Girl

The other day, I took my daughter to see Kit Kittredge, the American Girl movie. This was one of the few times I didn’t read the book before going to see the movie (one other being The Devil Wears Prada), and I must say, I was surprised. It’s a little dark. Not very happy-go-lucky or upbeat.

Spoiler Alert! Depression-era Kit and her buddies befriend hobos and watch, as one by one, their houses get repossessed, and their fathers take off to find work in neighboring states. The eclectic individuals the Kittredge’s take on as boarders provide some lighter moments, but the movie is a bit sad at times. (I was glad to see Chris O'Donnell on the big screen. Too bad he took off for Chicago in search of a job about twenty minutes into the movie.)

My daughter had a hard time understanding the whole doll/real person concept. She understands that American Girls are dolls, and I think she expected the girl on the screen to be playing with an American Girl doll.

Luckily (ha!), I had saved the latest American Girl mail order catalog, so when we got home, I sat Mia down and explained that Kit was a doll, and the movie told her story. I tried to relate to her how The Saddle Club books have their characters also on television, and Strawberry Shortcake is a doll, a book and a TV show—the ultimate marketing trifecta.

As we leafed through the pages of the catalog, perusing the doll and all her accessories—the tree house, her attic room, desk, clothes, your clothes to match her clothes—the irony became apparent to me. Yes, you, too, could be poor like Kit and risk your parents losing their home if you bought all the stuff in the catalog. I didn’t run the numbers, but just the doll and her book are $90. The tree house will set you back $250. So, why did I keep the catalog?

Later that day she had the neighbor child help her write out her birthday wish list. Number one: an American Girl doll. Later, she said to me, “I think I’ll ask the neighbors to buy me an American Girl doll for my birthday.” Good luck, sister.


Julie Layne said...

Too funny. We went to the American Girl store in Chicago a few summers ago, then this summer in LA. My 10-year-old thought she might like a Molly doll for her birthday (it would be her first AG doll other than a mini Kit doll from Chicago). Then, we came home and after a few weeks, she came to me and said, "Mom, for the price of a Molly doll, I could get several other things, right? I don't think I want that doll after all."

BA BING! She's 10, and she gets it. I keep waiting for her to beg to see the movie, but I think I want to see it more than she does!!

Anonymous said...

I'll be sure to take you and Mia to American Girl at the Grove here in LA when you visit this fall, maybe even have tea. It is quite the experience, though the boys would disagree!