The Little Locksmith

RORY: The Little Locksmith!

LORELAI: And I got it at the bookstore, paid full price.

The Little Locksmith, a 1943 memoir by Katharine Butler Hathaway about the effects of spinal tuberculosis on her life. Hathaway was kept immobilised, strapped to a board, for ten years in a failed attempt to save her from becoming a hunchback, like “the little locksmith” in their community that her mother treated as a figure of horror. When the treatment ended at the age of fifteen, Hathaway was a hunchback after all, and no taller than a ten-year-old child. Overcoming her physical limitations, and the boundaries prescribed by society, she went on to attend college, forge enduring friendships, become a writer, and buy her own house in Maine, which she fashioned room by room as a creative space for guests, lovers, and artists.

The book was reprinted in 2000 by The Feminist Press, which would be the edition Lorelai bought. The book has been praised, not only for its author’s determination to find physical pleasure and creative fulfilment in a life that could have been a tragedy, but also for her poetic, unique voice. This is another example of unconventional female biography and memoir that Lorelai and Rory enjoy reading, with Lorelai buying it as a joke since Rory is also “disabled” by her hurt wrist.

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