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J. K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  3,902 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
With the amazing success of the Harry Potter series, interest in the author Joanne Kathleen (JK) Rowling has reached an unparalleled level. Now comes the completely updated New York Times bestseller J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter. From her time as a struggling single mother to her rise to stardom as the most successful children's book author ever, J.K. Rowlin ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published March 17th 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published August 2000)
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Community Reviews

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Sam Reitenour
Mar 02, 2013 Sam Reitenour rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So, I am a big fan of the Harry Potter books and everything surrounding them and their author, and have stuck with the fanbase to this day. I found "J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter" at Half Price Books and said "hey, why not learn more about the author?" I mean, I knew her basic life story and whatnot, but not specifically. Then I saw that this was a biography, not an autobiography, by Marc Shapiro. I figured at the time that this did not matter.

Apparently, it matters.

Not only doe
Wenn man an Harry Potter denkt, dann sieht man meist nicht nur den Blitznarbigen Jungen vor sich sondern auch seine geistige Mutter J. K. Rowling. Sie ist eine Frau, die von den Medien geliebt wurde und noch immer wird. Ein wenig scheu, doch durchaus unbeugsam. Eine Frau die einem Leben in Armut entkommen ist, durch ihre Fantasie und einer gewaltigen Menge an Disziplin.
Diese Biografie kommt in meinen Augen, ein wenig flach daher. Es scheint mir als sei auf dem Harry Potter Hype aufgesprungen wo
Ashlee Telschow
Yesterday when I was leaving the library with my son (the youth room to be exact) I saw this book on display and immediately picked it up. I am a big HP fan and I love Jo Rowling so I was excited to read it. The book is not by her though, it's by a guy named Marc Shapiro, and I really don't think he had any right to write this book. Most of his sources were big magazines or newspaper articles with interviews with Jo in them...but he never talked/interviewed her himself. What got me the most angr ...more
Rana Heshmati
Dec 15, 2016 Rana Heshmati rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rana by: Armina
خیلی وقت بود که کتابی رو یک روزه شروع و تموم نکرده بودم. :)
Jun 22, 2007 S. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hilariously and unintentionally awful.
This book has just one thing going for it: it's the first biography for youngsters about the popular author. The only other sources of information are articles in newspapers, magazines, and on the Internet.

Unfortunately, the text reads like a rough draft of a junior-high research paper. Incomplete and fragmented sentences abound as Shapiro rambles on in a confusing manner. Quotations are loosely traced to articles and interviews in their sentences, but are not properly documented. Shapiro write
Feb 04, 2016 Allen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad that I read this book. There were lots of interesting facts I didn't know about Rowling, which was very surprising. Poverty,failed marriage, it also tells about her rise to fame when she created the Harry Potter books. I recommend this book to anyone who loves Harry Potter or the Author herself!
Oct 04, 2013 Mloy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book has more conjuring in it than all of J.K. Rowling's seven Harry Potter novels put together. One has to question the credibility of an author, and the publishing house, that would publish a book chock full of inaccuracies. I got so tired of listing everything that was wrong with this book because (A) there was so much of it and (B) it was hindering my reading because I constantly had to stop and make a note for my review. The only good part of this book was the last Chapter where the "a ...more
Erin Attenborough
May 10, 2014 Erin Attenborough rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It looked self-published to me, which is rarely a good sign. It wasn’t, but it might as well have been as I’m sure no self-respecting JKR fan would deign to submit it for publishing. First of all was the fact that the blurb included dot points stating what FAQs would be answered within. Incidentally, few were. The “about the author” section spelt his daughter’s name “Rachael” though in the dedications her name was “Rachel”. I strongly suspected that an author who couldn’t decide on the spelling ...more
Matthew Largo
J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter was ok. As the book progressed it got a little boring as the book only had evidence from magazines and news articles. I would have thought this book would give more information on Joanne and less of her books but that was not the case. Half of the book was mainly Joanne working and publishing the Harry Potter books. I would have thought this book would give more information on Joanne and less of her books but that was not the case. I would recommend t ...more
Ashley (TheNerdyBookmark)
Aug 31, 2016 Ashley (TheNerdyBookmark) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Harry Potter/J.K. Rowling fans
Any book about the lovely J.K. Rowling is an automatic 5 star book <3

I got this for practically nothing at my local thrift shop a little bit ago. It's a tiny, fun and easy read. It's also old. The 1st movie had yet to be made and book 4 was just rollin out. Wowzers! A very nostalgic read for me. I grew up with Harry Potter. Everyone says that but I mean it. The first book came out when I was 8. If Harry and gang were in my school, we would've been in the same grade. I was around for all the m
Celine Parker
Jul 26, 2009 Celine Parker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a biography about the author of the Harry Potter series and how the books became so successful. It starts from Rowling's childhood, when she was clearly more imaginative than the rest of her friends and classmates. It then goes through her yound adulthood when she experienced a family death and had her first child. She then became very poor and wrote the Harry Potter series on whatever scraps of paper she could find. I'm not one that usually reads biographies, but this was very well-writ ...more
Chloe Resendez
Feb 06, 2016 Chloe Resendez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have to say that this book was pretty good but not amazing. Some parts were pretty crazy and then at one point I kind of started getting bored. In some parts, I liked the way Marc Shapiro made things get dramatic when they need to, but I think that the book could be a little bit more interesting. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading biographies such as this one. The good thing about this book is that it answered some of the questions I had about Harry Potter.
Aug 02, 2014 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I love it because it has something to do with Harry Potter & I'm fascinated with the life of JK Rowling -BUT I don't trust that the information is 100 percent correct. How can I when on page 7 it claims that owls run the bank in the Harry Potter world? Obviously, this author hasn't paid close attention to the Harry Potter books. GOBLINS RUN THE BANK. Who can read the books and not know that?!
Dec 25, 2016 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember the exact date for when I read this, but I do remember it was in Elementary School. I also remember having to pick a person to do a biography on, and what better choice than to choose J.K Rowling! I remember this being such a fun assignment and it was fun to learn about the life of the queen before the Harry Potter books and how they came to be.
Jan 03, 2017 Jourdan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't entirely trust this author. He had some things about the Harry Potter universe a little mixed up and miss spelled. I enjoyed reading Rowlings back story but if the info on Harry wasn't totally true then how do I know hers was.
Jan 24, 2017 Sabrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I re-read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Bina Gallagher
Nov 19, 2016 Bina Gallagher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marc Shapiro, the author of J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter, wrote this book to give fans of J.K. Rowling and her most famous book series: Harry Potter, a better understanding of how they came to be. He informed readers on Joanne Kathleen’s family and her life when she was just a child. We get to see how she came up with the idea for Harry Potter and how she overcame many obstacles in her life to finally get her books published. This book is mostly informative and is for book lover ...more
Mar 05, 2017 Vanessah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved all of the information this book had about J.K. Rowling! It was so informative and actually quite enthralling. This book was awesome and I'd definitely recommend to anyone who loves J.K Rowling.
Tyler Johnson
Mark Shapiro’s novel of J. K. Rowling, The Wizard Behind Harry Potter is a non-official biography about the author of the world-renown author of the Harry Potter series. It was intended to enlighten readers about the history of J. K. Rowling, including why she wrote the series, what her childhood was like, and what her life is like now. Unfortunately, since this book was published in 2001, the information is very old and not recent, resulting in only information about the first three books and ...more
Maximus Perez
The book J.K. Rowling: The wizard behind Harry Potter was a biography by Marc Shapiro. It talked about her childhood, her depression, her accomplishments, and her setbacks. It provided lots of information about her and is a great resource to use. I recommend this book to any one who wants to learn about the author of Harry Potter or has a project or essay.
Fabian Duran
This is a biography about J.K. Rowling it provides lots of information about her childhood, accomplishments, and her struggles in life. This book just talks about her life and how she came up with the Harry Potter series. I recommend this book if you like biographies, or if you like the Harry Potter series.
Elizabeth Montoya
Feb 22, 2017 Elizabeth Montoya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"J. K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter" by Mar Shapiro is a good book. It is about her life from when she was born till were she is now. What I love is how she Harry Potter's last name by two of her close friends which were siblings last name which was "Potter." Also, of how she accomplished being a poor single mom to being richer than the Queen of England. I will recommend this book to readers who like Harry Potter because they can see the who created the series and how.
Daylene Arteaga
Feb 22, 2017 Daylene Arteaga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book J.K Rowling biography by Marc Shapiro is a great book and I think anybody who loves harry potter would love this book and the reason I gave it a four and not a five is because I am tot a huge fan of harry potter, but when I read all about her it made want to read the series of harry potter. Another reason why I like this book is because it gave a little bit of the behind the scenes of how she wrote the books and how she came up of the ideas. But it also gave much of her struggles and ch ...more
Katie Bettis
Feb 20, 2017 Katie Bettis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter by Marc Shapiro is about J.K. Rowling's life. Like her childhood, her struggles, her inspirations, and how she became an author. It also tells you how she came up with Harry Potter(she was on a train looking at cows). I would recommend this book to anyone who likes J.K. Rowling and biographies.
Jordan Verhulst
J.K. Rowling: The Wizard behind Harry Potter is a biography written by Marc Shapiro. It is a relatively simple book with an equally simple purpose: to document and retell the life of the remarkable woman that wrote one of the best known and most loved book series of all time, the Harry Potter series. That is, after all, the entire purpose of any biography; to document and retell. Themes recurring in J.K. Rowling’s life would have to be perseverance and faith. Early in her career, she encountered ...more
This was one of two biographies selected by our girls' book club for discussion this month. We enjoyed reading more about J.K. Rowling, even though the girls have not yet read the Harry Potter series. (I think that will be one that we tackle soon!)

The 'unauthorized' biography was short and only took the reader through 2000, which was a bit surprising that it was so out of date. At that point, Ms. Rowling had only published the first four books in the series and the first movie was in production
Sep 18, 2013 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book, J. K. Rowling: The Wizard behind Harry Potter, was written by Marc Shapiro. This unofficial biography was written to tell about J. K. Rowling and her life growing up. J. K. Rowling’s dedication is the theme in this book. The book told about how Rowling was challenged to stay dedicated to her writing. Even when she was a small child and she was afraid of being made fun of she had to say dedicated. Dedication is also shown when Rowling was writing Harry Potter because of the massive amo ...more
Cassy Skellington
Apr 23, 2012 Cassy Skellington rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: New/uninformed fans of the series
I picked up this book on a whim at the library, and, being someone who hasn't really paid attention to the history of Harry Potter, more specifically, to J.K. Rowling herself, I was pleased with what I found in this book. It gave me a rundown of her early childhood and her innate ability to tell stories, to her adulthood with all the struggles and joys of finding herself both as a writer and as a woman. A woman who happened to become a multimillion dollar success and one of the top names in mode ...more
Sep 04, 2015 Andrew rated it it was amazing
From what little I have seen and read, my impression of Ms. Rowling has been that she is a private person who does not inhabit her fame and celebrity comfortably. I understood her to be a person of modest tastes who does not seek out attention. Nothing in this brief biography changes any of those impressions. Written for younger readers, this biography is a sympathetic look at Ms. Rowling’s life, and her efforts to both create the Harry Potter stories, and maintain control over her creation, whi ...more
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Marc Shapiro is the author of the New York Times bestselling biography, J.K. Rowling: The Wizard behind Harry Potter, and more than a dozen other celebrity biographies. He has been a freelance entertainment journalist for more than twenty-five years, covering film, television, and music for a number of national and international newspapers and magazines.
More about Marc Shapiro...

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