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J. K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  3,122 ratings  ·  120 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 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sam Reitenour
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
...more
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
PurplyCookie
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
...more
S.
Hilariously and unintentionally awful.
Erin Pelquest-Hunt
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
Celine Parker
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
Erin Smith
As a huge Potterhead, not a "potteries" as Marc Shapiro refers to Harry Potter fans in the book, I figured I would LOVE to read an autobiography on J.K. Rowling. However this book on her was terrible. It was horribly written, he made her living in poverty as a single mother and her signing on to write 7 Harry Potter books equally as exciting. I don't think he ever actually communicated with Rowling in any way at all. He had tons of facts about the Harry Potter series and her wrong. He clearly ha ...more
Dolly
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
...more
Starcookie Collins
Mar 07, 2010 Starcookie Collins added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ?
Recommended to Starcookie by: no one
I really like how harry came to be
Cassy Skellington
Apr 25, 2012 Cassy Skellington rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Nilo Di Stefano
E' uno snack ma molto gustoso
Questo libricino di 120 pagine è una piccola biografia sulla scrittrice più importante degli ultimi 10 anni. La storia di una creazione, la vita dell'autrice fra alti e bassi, fra luci e ombre, dolori e gioie.
Una vita brillante, mai banale, resa entusiasmante dall'intelligenza e dalla fantasia di J.K.Rowling. Le paure e le rivincite fanno da cornice alla creazione della storia più avvincente dopo il signore degli anelli. E' davvero bello sapere il dove e il come è n
...more
Henry Zhu
This book is mostly about how J.K Rowling and her journey of making the Harry Potter Series. The book shows that in the beginning of her life, there were many hard times for her. For example, when J.K Rowling was 16, her mother died of a sickness. J.K Rowling was very upset that she didn't spend a lot of time with her mother. She had always spent her time either writing or reading her stories to her sister. Also, as she grew older, she found herself homeless and she was a single mother. She had ...more
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
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
Adam
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
Mloy
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
Lilly C.
Great read! I learned a lot of new facts about J. K. Rowling! It was very short and that is the only reason I did not give it a 5 star rating. The format of the text was organized in a good way, that was enchanting, and easy to read. This isn't the best book to be carrying around, because a LOT of people asked me what the heck is that book and why the heck is there a huge head on it. I felt kinda offended, and I bet J. K. Rowling and Marc Shapiro would be offended.
Kristina
Truly a remarkable story. Whenever I doubt my own writing and dreams of publication, I remind myself of the stories of successful authors, especially J. K. Rowling, who ended up living their dream despite countless things that could have or did go against them. I recommend this to anyone who ever felt like giving up on their writing or another dream, because this is a true testimony to how the beautifully impossible can happen when LIFE seems impossible.
Amanda
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?!
m1 Gwen
This book was amazingly informative. I learned so many things about J. K. Rowling that I never knew, and about the books themselves. Although this book is probably biased in her favor, it had almost completely verified, proven facts and quotes from Joanne herself. It was cool to learn about one of my favorite authors and it really made me realize some cool connections from the books. As a perfectionist, someone who loves to write, and someone who loves to edit other peoples writing, there were d ...more
Philia
n absolute delight! After the first two paragraphs in the introduction by Marc Shapiro, I knew it was a book that I don't need a bookmark, for I would just finish it in one dosage!

An escape and entertainment in only 163 page of light reading in medium font.

I am not a Harry Potter fan, but I am now a fan of the Wizard behind Harry Potter.

Like her character Harry, Joanne Kathleen is a ordinary person with common human weaknesses and battled through troughs in life, but her passion for writing, h
...more
Berna
While I learned more about one of my favorite authors, this book is simply bits and pieces of information about J.K Rowling, that can be taken from the internet. Being a fan of Harry Potter, there are some incorrect information written by this author (like, it's not owls who run banks, it's goblins). And he calls Harry Potter fans 'Potterites', instead of 'Potterheads'
Szani Petrik
What a fantastic book. I was really delighted to get to know JKR's life story - I even cried while reading some parts! She is a truly amazing woman everyone can look up to and who has worked hard for success. She deserves every single bit of acknowledgement for the wonderful person she is. Thank you, JK, for creating Harry's world and making my child(- and adult :-) )hood as exciting as possible!
jacky
I picked this up so that I could have a book in the living room and a book in Natalie's room. I wanted a quick read because I planned to get something different at the library on Friday. I had this for my classroom. I don't think anyone ever read it. And I'm glad if that is the case, because this wasn't very good. I thought the writing was poor. It was repetitive and poorly organized. The edition I had had additions about book five and movie three. I felt that the end of the book dragged. What I ...more
Lori
I am grateful that the book is headed by the phrase, "an unauthorized biography" of J.K. Rowling. Shapiro's writing is redundant, cliche'd, choppy, assumptive of Rowling's life and so inaccurate when describing details of the Potter story, (which anyone remotely familiar with Harry's story would pick up on), that I was led to question myself, "which audience is he writing for"? That question and the above observations led me to ask, "how accurate can any of the details of Rowling's story be"? Du ...more
Lora
J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter by: Marc Shapiro was very interesting to read. I, a huge Harry Potter fan, really liked learning about her life and how Harry Potter became famous. I would really like to meat J.K. Rowling because she seems like a really nice person (and she wrote amazing books.) For example, she didn't give up on her dreams even though she was a poor single mother and she went on all kinds of interviews and book tours to meet her fans. Biographies aren't my favorite ...more
Annette
Nice short story of how J.K. Rowling came about with the adventures of Harry Potter. Tells her story briefly up to the beginning of writing the fourth book Goblet of Fire and the beginning of production of the first film.

105 pages.

Good, quick read.
Jaclyn Laigle
I laughed, I cried. I couldn't put this book down. As an aspiring writer, I love reading about others' success. J.K. Rowling's story was incredibly inspiring and any time I need a pick-me-up before I start writing, I turn to this book
Michelina
This book is about the struggles that J.K. Rowling had leading up the creation of Harry Potter. The book tells you about her life before Harry Potter and after. I recommend this book to any one who has read the series.
Amalie
This has a lot of information but it does not tell much more than what was already said in many interviews. The facts that were in the book were all jumbled up and unorganized. Should not purchase this book, it'll be such a waste of money and it's not a book worthy to spend your time on reading

One plus point: those who read this must remember, that, this is the first biography of this author. That's all. I thought it would go great with my current reading of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
...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.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/marcsh...
More about Marc Shapiro...
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