Sunday, August 28, 2011
Alright, so....I was super excited when I started this book. It started out awesomely, and I have been reading it pretty much none-stop since I downloaded it a few days ago. So, over all it was okay. The good parts were all of the stuff that I didn't know, like the back ground story of how the books became published in the first place, how it was really a grass roots effort at the very beginning, and how Jo Rowling herself would admit that timing was everything, and there are so many instances in the phenom where everything just fell into place at the exact right time.
One of my favourite themes through-out the book is that pretty much everyone involved with the publication of Philosophers Stone had a dream of a "child loving a book to pieces" which is, really, in essence what happened. Say what you will about the books, the films, or the "franchise" in general; the bottom line is children, and in fact people of all ages, LOVE the books.
One of my other favourite parts was reading about how the midnight launchings got started, and how brilliant it was, and it brought back the excitement I felt around the pub date of the next Harry Potter book. My 11 year old daughter, who was 5 (I think) at the time, attended one of the launches at our local bookstore. It was so exciting! We went around 6 o'clock, and she was in her little Gryffindor cloak and her hair crimped like Hermoine, and other kids were dressed up. They had wizard crafts, and in the middle of the store a big screen TV playing the latest DVD of Harry with kids piled up on pillows in front, it was the most exciting literary event I had ever been to. We didn't stay until midnight, but what we took away from it was memories that to this day we talk about. Nothing will ever match the hoopla that was the Harry Potter phenom. And now that the last movie is out, we have a similar feeling.
There was an entire section in the book about Wizard Rock a supposed entire genre of music of Harry Potter themed bands. I was very "meh" about the whole thing, and to be honest, this was one of the many times in the book that it was more about Melissa and her involvement in the phenom, and kind of like a bit of a creepy, "Ooooohhh, look at me, I KNOW these people." This happened a lot, and it was extremely annoying. I am quite sure she didn't intend the book to come across that way, but it totally did, for me anyway.
Even her interview at the end of the book with J.K. Rowling herself, which she repeatedly had to mention that personal things said were stricken from the record, and any personal conversation was stricken, and anything Jo said to me that was PERSONAL I struck. WE GET IT, YOU KNOW HER PERSONALLY. Gawd. And even comments from her during the interview, "Oh, we'll know each other for YEARS." May that be true or not, it just comes across obnoxiously.
Now, in fairness, Melissa DID get awesome opportunities to meet everyone, studio execs, the stars, Jo herself, pub execs, etc., and I know from personal experience that it is almost impossible to talk about these experiences WITHOUT sounding like your are bragging. I am telling you, it IS IMPOSSIBLE. So I feel her pain. And it is pretty cool how she went from a unemployed graduate to a sought after web mistress of one of the most popular fan sites, and she takes her job very seriously. Kudos to her for that.
That being said, and maybe this is what sticks in my craw somewhat. This book should really be called, "Melissa A Memoir" because that is really what it is. It is essentially about Melissa Anelli and her rise through the ranks from room in her parents house to a 2 day interview in J.K. Rowlings house in Scotland, from a budding journalist to a person invited to insider Harry events worldwide. And if it was marketed for what it really was, well then, I would not be annoyed at all because I would be getting exactly what I was expecting. I am not the only reader that feels this way, just click here to the Good Reads page to read more people with almost exactly the same thought.
All in all I take away the parts of the phenom that I found fascinating, and to be honest, most of the stuff about Melissa and her buddies in the "biz" I have already forgotten, even though I literally finished the book about an hour ago.
I think a biography of J.K. Rowling would be what I should have picked up instead.