Allison (The Allure of Books)'s Reviews > Harry, a History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon

Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli
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I have wanted to read this book for a long time. Harry Potter was my life for about ten years, and the characters became my family. While the books were being published, all the other Potter devotees felt like family too. How many hours-days-months did I spend obsessing over every little detail J.K. Rowling let slip, reading MWPP fan-fiction and making fun of the people that actually thought Hermoine would end up with Harry? I'm pretty sure the amount of time I invested in this world is slightly insane - but I'm positive I don't regret a single second.

I wanted this book to capture that. For the most part, I think it does. If anyone can understand devoting yourself to Harry Potter, it is Melissa Anelli. She made a career out of it! She accurately captures a lot of great memories from the years when the books were still being released. She had me smiling through a lot of the book. So, while I enjoyed it, I can't imagine a lot of people that don't understand and appreciate the Potter years getting much out of it.

In many ways, it tells the story of my generation (it even touches on 9/11!), because no one else will ever read or experience Harry Potter the way we did. We got to be a part of the process - we were told the story a little at a time, so we appreciate each book more than anyone that gets the whole series at once ever could.

But at the same time, we can all envy new readers. Melissa Anelli says it well (to set the stage, the following takes place a few days after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows):

I leaned against the metal pole of the subway car as we started chugging into the heart of New York City. If my music hadn't stopped playing I might never have noticed - one, two, three, four at least ten people were holding up their giant orange books. Some were halfway through, some nearly all the way through. Some propped it on their legs, and a few more had taken off the jacket so as not to be inconspicuous. They spanned all ages, and were all engrossed.

One young woman, not much younger than me, sat near the end of my eye line; she was reading too, her colorful backpack on her lap and her arms circling it, her book acting as a buckle to hold it in place. I traveled to the next pole down to get a surreptitious closer look; she wasn't reading Deathly Hallows at all. Her book wasn't orange but rose and water and sand, and featured a kid on a broomstick and a white unicorn. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. She didn't notice me staring at her.

Oh, I envy you, I thought, but was smiling for her. She had just begun.
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