Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli

Released: November 4, 2008
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 356
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-5495-0

Harry, a History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon (a) has a crazy lengthy title, and (b) has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I picked it up when it first came out, started it, and ended up sort of forgetting about it until recently. It’s written by Melissa Anelli, the webmistress of The Leaky Cauldron, a Harry Potter fansite that has emerged as one of the leading sources on Potterdom.

The book starts off pretty slowly, which is probably part of the reason I put it down the first time around. Plus the author tends to jump around in time without making it explicit – the reader has to derive it from context a lot of the time – and I found it rather irritating. The timelines become clearer towards the end of the book, for which I was very grateful, but I still found it distracting.

Melissa Anelli summarizes the Harry Potter phenomenon in a nice, easy fashion, and her passion for the Harry Potter canon and fans is evident throughout the book. There’s also some great insight into J.K. Rowling and her feelings about fan response, which was really neat. All in all, it’s a decent read but I didn’t love it.

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