BOOK & BLOG
July 28, 2007
Book of the Week: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
Im not going to reveal any secrets about this book, because I dont want to spoil it for those who havent read it or those who havent finished it. After all, this book is over 700 pages long, and some people cant dedicate huge chunks of time to reading. As you all know, this is the last book in the world-popular Harry Potter series, the series that has entertained literally millions of people of all ages and made its creator, J.K. Rowling, one of the richest people in the world. Im fairly certain shes the richest writer.
By all accounts, Rowling had a very hard time of it before she came up with the idea for Harry Potter, and no one can begrudge her the success shes achieved. I cant imagine how Rowlings life must have changed; from single mom living in a terribly tiny and grungy flat to incredibly rich and revered writer . . . thats a jump that would make anyone dizzy. She seems to be handling it well, too, if the brief glimpses of interviews are any indication.
THE DEATHLY HALLOWS is a worthy climax to a consistently wonderful series. Rowlings imagination never flags and her sense of surety never fails. There are moments when this reader grew impatient for something to happen to end poor Harrys wandering in the wilderness, but Im sure Rowling had a point to make; even in the middle of a revolution, there are boring bits. And even the greatest of heroes which Harry certainly is has moments of great uncertainty.
If some of you have been denying yourself this treat, please dont deny yourself any longer. The Harry Potter books are full of the values we all think the best of people should exhibit: the value of friendship, the importance of loyalty, the necessity of resisting evil, the lure of taking the easy way out of a bad situation. Tolerance and sympathy are stressed, and the value of the individual. But none of this is preachy; its all presented simply and cleverly, with the ring of truth about it.
Ive never understood why some fundamentalist groups think the Potter books are a bad influence on children. I dont think children will come away feeling they can perform magic any more than children expect to track down thieves after reading Nancy Drew books. The Potter books are the strongest possible evidence that good writing can show the necessity of choosing between good and evil in a simple way and be a ripping good read, too.
This has been the week of broken things. Im sure all of you have had streaks like that. This particular streak began with the damage lightning caused to my computer. Our oldest has built us another one, but there are still lots of things to install on it. The phone in the office was also damaged, so we had to get a new one. Then it turned out that the multi-purpose machine that copies, scans, and faxes, no longer faxes . . . something I had just learned to do.
Then the telephones (the landline phones) began buzzing, a noise that gradually increased in intensity until we couldnt understand anyone on the other end of the line. Then the phone began hanging itself up when someone called us. It took the phone repairman four days to get here. My husband heroically got our phone calls forwarded to his cell phone, but inevitably we missed some calls.
Then the young man wed hired to mow our yard took a pass on the riding mower and the belt broke. That repairman hasnt even called us back yet. Our back yard is knee-high.
Our bottom oven doesnt get up to heat.
Im waiting for another catastrophe to happen. All these break-downs have given me a general case of the blues. What else will go wrong? Will HBO pass on the pilot of True Blood? Will my editor reject the manuscript of the latest Sookie? Is the short story Im writing no good?
The phone repairman showed up this morning, and our phones appear to be working. Im still suspicious, but Im willing to believe theyre fixed. Maybe the Sears tractor guy will call in the next thirty minutes, and hustle over with a belt. Well call the young man, and the yard will once more look like civilized people live in our house. And after all, why do I need another oven, anyway? Its summer! My husband should be grilling!
© 2009 Charlaine Harris