Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry, A History

Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli
Pocket Books, 2008
330 pages
Non-fiction; Harry
3.5/5 stars

Source: Library

Summary: Anelli started as a fan of HP and soon emerged as the webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron.  She sets out to investigate the phenomenon that is Harry in this book.

Thoughts: I grew up with Harry although I cannot claim to have been one of the first readers; I was probably 8 when I read Sorcerer's Stone and then I was 17 for Deathly Hallows.  Thus I missed out on a lot of the sensation at the beginning being a. young and b. rather sheltered.  It was interesting to read about the passionate immediate fans and the explosion.  From my POV, it really exploded in anticipation of HP5 but this book helps fill in the spaces.

I understand Anelli's point with this book but I felt that she would have been better off writing more about the world of Harry.  She ends talking about an eight-hour interview she conducted with JK Rowling and that's the place where she's most passionate.  When she talks about the minutiae of the series and the themes, she's golden.  When she talks about the outside, it's less interesting.

Two particular things bugged me.  First Anelli's description of herself immediately post-graduation.  Basically she sat around mooching off of her parents and complaining; that really turned me off.  Second, she's kind of a ***** about people who shipped H/H.  Now that bothered me as someone who yes does like Harry and Hermione.  I feel like the smart heroine and the very heroic hero could belong together; Ginny is still a bit of a Mary Sue to me; and I just never really liked Ron-he rubbed me the wrong way.  I do not persist in championing H/H because the books are done although I do block out the epilogue (there are other reasons for that).  But I hated the way she wrote about H/H vs R/H and that soured me on the book.

Overall: A competent narrative although I wish she had changed her focus to inside rather than outside the books.

Cover: Cute.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, a book about the HP phenomenon written by a Harry Potter fan. You made good points about it. Too bad the author went a bit too emotional in regard to H/H and so on. But it seems like a good read for a Harry Potter fan. I wouldn't call myself a fan, but I do like the story. And yes, I agree, Ginny is such a Mary Sue! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thinks that.

    It's great how so many people grew up with the books. I just turned 15 when the first movie came out, so I didn't exactly grow up with this phenomenon, but I think it's lovely that some people, like you, did. We must have something that we grew up with.


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