In the final installment of Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling provides a very deep look into the wizarding world. Everything is explained in this final inst...moreIn the final installment of Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling provides a very deep look into the wizarding world. Everything is explained in this final installment. The story of wandmaking, magic, and human nature. It is amazing how she is able to weave human nature, intent, and goodness into magic. There are definitely life lessons to be learned in the series, but in particular the last book.
I felt the general pace of the book was rather slow. Rowling is an accomplished storyteller who does not cheat the reader. Harry cannot possibly have some unknown knowledge that wasn’t available in previous books. He cannot suddenly become an accomplished wizard if he was not one at the end of book six. The pacing is slow as Harry seemingly fumbles around to accomplish what he needs to. However, the action scenes are fantastic with some very daring escapes and clever plans.
The ending is fantastic. Harry’s true nature is what prevails in the end. There are some great lines about leadership and responsibility in the book.
“I had proven, as a very young man, that power was my weakness and my temptation. It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”
“I was fit to own the Elder Wand, and not to boast of it, and not to kill with it. I was permitted to tame and to use it, because I took it, not for gain, but to save others from it.”
“You are the true master of death, because the true master does not seek to run away from Death. He accepts that he must die, and understands that there are far, far worse things in the living world than dying.”
“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love. By returning, you may ensure that fewer souls are maimed, fewer families are torn apart. If that seems to you a worthy goal, then we say good-bye for the present.”
Lastly, the cover of the book explains the ending. Very cool and represents the type of writing Rowling is capable of. Rowling always leaves the answers to her books in the open. She gives it away, but leaves enough interpretation to confuse the reader. She can give away so many secrets, but only the dedicated can predict the ending. (less)
Dave Eggers memoir runs on inner monologue. He must raise his younger brother Topher after the death of his parents. How he deals with his loss, the n...moreDave Eggers memoir runs on inner monologue. He must raise his younger brother Topher after the death of his parents. How he deals with his loss, the need to raise his brother, and the variety of problems he experiences is documented in his memoir. His mind seems to run a million miles a minute going from awesome to pathetic in the same sentence. It would seem a very simple story to tell, but it is the inner thoughts that make it highly entertaining. The wildest thoughts are recorded in an honest way. At times it's the stream of consciousness of a 22 year old who craves attention. Although juvenile, it’s the raw emotion of his work that hooks you in.
There is also a self awareness to the writing. He knows he is exploiting his life to become famous. This part comes out in his MTV interview as a cast member for The Real World. The more people he tells about his pain, the loss of his parents, his needing to raise his little brother, the more he can heal. (This concept is even referenced at the end of the book. While he didn’t make it on The Real World, his book can garner the same audience.)
The storytelling technique is also unique. It’s unorthodox since while what is being said is probably true, how it is communicated is probably not. There are times where Toph is speaking and he seems suddenly wise about the situation. It's either an explanation of his raising or the situation, but it’s unlikely he said it (at age 9). However, it provides a good context on what is going on at the time. He also has a friend named John with suicidal tendencies. John tries to leave the book two times after accusing Eggers of exploiting what’s going on for drama. It’s strangely metafictional in that way.
The segments of him raising Toph are more interesting than his work on the magazine Might. That work however, better explains what he is after in his memoir, attention and fame. The sad, then hectic pace coalesces into a healing, that underlies the story. Eggers wants to tell about his mother’s death, his situation, but like so many authors, he struggles to find a way to tell it that conveys the emotion of the experience. This unique memoir accomplishes that without getting too sympathetic or inviting sorrow over his situation. (less)