Book Review: History a History

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Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon

 

I was going to ask for this book for Christmas, but saw it in a Target on vacation and decided to go ahead and get it and read it over the break. I’m grateful that I did. This book took me back to my childhood of Harry Potter reading and playing Harry Potter in my backyard, my young teenage years of obsessive fanfiction writing and my late teens reading the final books as I surpassed Harry’s age and embarked on my own journies. Mellissa writes about movements and events that are recognizable only to the fandom, but which I remember clearly. Switchblade Kitten’s Ode to Harry Potter is on my iPod, and more importantly, on all my old mix CDs.

The only thing I can criticize is the lack of attention to the elements of fandom that are lacking in the novel, and happen to be the ones in which I immersed myself. I spent my fifteenth summer on Fiction Alley, and spent the time before that reading Fanfiction which was not Cassandra Claire’s. I came in through MenaRaisin’s Hermione’s World newsletter and I feel like that is where many, many fans started. I also mourned the lack of mention of JK Rowling’s interaction with LOOK UP the young girl with cancer who wanted to know the end of the books, and the girl who came home from camp to find Harry Potter in her car—early. But those two things happened before Melissa came into the fandom and are, thus, excusable.

All in all, this book receives many accolades from this fan. I was never a BNF, I shipped Harry/Ginny but Fire and Ice was my guilty pleasure. I hung on to the potential of Mark Evans and remember the day JK Rowling’s website went live. Melissa’s book brought all of that back to me, and for this I am extremely grateful. 

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