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J.K. Rowling - A Biography

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  1,134 ratings  ·  55 reviews
She is the creator of probably the most famous - and certainly the best-loved - character in contemporary fiction. She is also the author of her own escape from an existence on the brink of poverty, with no job and few prospects. On the one hand there is J.K. Rowling, who wrote, and continues to write, the Harry Potter novels,a literary phenomenon. O the other, there is Jo ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Michael O'Mara Books (first published 1999)
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Ida (IG: PleaseJustLetMeRead) Given the age of the book (it’s from 2001) and that Sean Smith didn’t talk to Rowling personally but only used written sources, it’s decent. Learning …moreGiven the age of the book (it’s from 2001) and that Sean Smith didn’t talk to Rowling personally but only used written sources, it’s decent. Learning more about Rowling, it shouldn’t be the only thing you read, though. (less)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  1,134 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Sep 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2015, biography
I've always admired Rowling a great deal. Not only did she write my all time favorite book series, she also seems like a very brave and intelligent woman who goes her own way.

So therefor I was very eager to read this book. At first I was very disappointed. The beginning was slow, boring and didn't say anything at all about Joanne as a person. The author wrote about her parents, where they lived and how much they paid for their house and so on. He also made a lot of lame attempts to make connecti
Angela Joyce
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
What an inspirational woman!
Gabriel Woods
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the first contemporary biography I have ever read for the same reasons as I found this book was effected by. Paragraphs of facts with little use of the imagination and limited description of the people that are being discussed.
I am ghost writing my first biography currently about a local lady who most of her life experienced institutional abuse. I read this book to give me an idea of what a contemporary biography might look like. I have read books about Patrick Pearse and additional hist
Mar 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
'Exhaustive research'? I don't agree with that at all. This strikes me as the type of fluff that someone tries to rush out in order to be the first biography written about the celebrity. There was no meat on the subject and not much inspiration and I'd personally advise people not to expect great things from this book if you go to read it. I think I'd prefer an autobiography by JK herself!
This was a nice introduction to JK's life, but in fact.. if I'm really honest.. I would advice everyone to watch the documentary on the bonus disc of the 6th movie instead. It's much more gripping that way and that was my biggest problem with this book. The things that happened were horrible at times but I just wasn't feeling it. Despite being a biography, I think that definitely should have been in there. But the general feeling about Jo's past and childhood was overall just.. wrong I think. It ...more
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I recommend this book to all Potterheads.

Although the first pages (till around page 76), it is a bit boring and is more like scattered information about the early years of J.K. Rowling rather than a meaningful biography with every chapter leading to a conclusion.

Be patient, after that first part, the book gets very interesting and turns into a well-narrated biography with reasonable information rather than just random facts scattered around.

The book ends before Harry Potter and the Order of the
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved reading about J.K. Rowling's life that influenced her writing in one of my favourite book series, Harry Potter. I always thought she was such an inspiring person and after reading this biography, I couldn't believe how much your life can change when you choose to follow your dreams. J.K. Rowling is an author that I greatly admire and her books and work definitely changed my life. An amazing biography for all Harry Potter fans and anyone who is interested in biographies, as this book proves ...more
Sep 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read it I was curious to know what gave a human this kind of inspiration to write a story such as Harry Potter.
My curiosity was satisfied because in the end I realized, one only needs to be a human with heart and to allow themselves to create as many stories as they need in order to survive.
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
I still don’t feel like I know the woman, but it served as a small dose of inspiration.
And now I get to learn all about my all time favorite author!
Ida (IG: PleaseJustLetMeRead)
This is decent, at most. Sean Smith tries to give the full picture of Joanne Rowling, but makes a lot of mistakes along the road, which could easily have been avoided with a tiny bit of extra research. I know, I know, it's an older book by now, and we know a lot more about the Harry Potter universe and Joanne Rowling now than we did back when this book was published, but how hard can it be, when you're allready in the process of researching for the book? It just seems a bit unprofessional, and t ...more
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I really love JKRowling. I love her life story & although, this book was repetative, I enjoyed it. Not for the writing, but the information given. I enjoyed reading snippets from previous interviews with Joanne Rowling that I haven't read or seen. There were plenty of quotes from sources too, which I enjoyed.
I found it amusing too, but that's from the view of someone in 2019, long after all the books & films have been produced. It was cool to see the expectations of people and relive it myself.
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First half of this book is so boring and so badly written. I was looking for a insightful book about this amazing women who has achieved so much and her story is so inspiring but this book sheds not much on her life in the first half. 2nd half gets better as we start to learn how it all began and a little of her thought process.
Jonas Lykke
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
The subject of this biography interested me a lot, but the authors Way of writing it was a bit boring and superficial. Though it was exciting to see what was written about Rowling as far back as 2001 and to see some guesses on the rest of the Potter story, it felt like a summary of interviews from talkshows and such combined with gossip from Old teachers.
Jacqueline Hjorth
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
slightly dull in the beginning but got more and more exciting as I read on! good read about an interesting woman.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Any Harry Potter fan
I thought this book was very interesting. It was amazing to see how J.K. Rowling came through the hardships she faced and gave us the masterpiece we know to be Harry Potter.
Lukyan's Library
This was yet another school book I had to read in 2017 and I really did not enjoy it. Technically, I didn't have to read this particular book, but the assignment was to read a biography of a person we were interested in. This is obviously a biography on J.K. Rowling, whom I admire, but this book was very disappointing in my humble opinion.

Characters: (Non-fiction N/A)
Plot: (Non-fiction N/A)
Originality: (Non-fiction N/A)
Writing: 2 stars
(All out of 5 stars)

T Nightbird
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
To be honest, I felt really detached. I mean I learnt about J.K Rowling's life but it didn't feel like a biography, more like a research paper on an author. There was something missing. I don't know how many books on Rowling there are out there but I would suggest to find another one.
Ariel R
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The theme of the book J.K. Rowling, A biography is that no matter how bad circumstances may get, there is always a way back to the light. This book is written in third person, and it is biography about the life of Joanne Rowling from childhood to success. This book carefully covers all the struggles, benefits, tragedy, and triumphs of her life. The reader comes to understand determination and love in its truest form, and that no matter how hopeless life situations may get, true talent will alway ...more
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
for anyone who is a harry potter fan, there is no better book than the biography of JK Rowling, the genius behind harry potter. this book has excited me so much and it has given me insight of how a writer should be. i really liked the way that JK Rowling's friends had really interesting things to say about her, growing up with her, going to school with her, going to college with her and old colleagues who she worked with. i have always wanted to be a writer just like JK Rowling because of the pu ...more
May 23, 2012 rated it liked it
This was book was good, but not great. I have been just as big a fan of JK Rowling as I am of her books for years, but I rarely find myself enjoying her biographies. Her story is a great one, but somehow it became dry in the retelling, and I think that is the fault of the author here. It was all the unnecessary background information on people/places that probably didn't deserve a mention.

It was also because of when this book was released; just after GOF. We all know what success the books/films
Rebecca Lyne
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I had to read a biography for my English class and I wanted to choose one that I would want to read and enjoy reading. I chose JK Rowling because she is the author of my favorite series, Harry Potter. Thud book was full of fun facts that surprisingly I didn't know. I totally recommend reading this book! I love the fact that in this book there were so many facts about her. you may be like "Well yeah, of course there are facts. its a biography." But i just think its so interesting. It tells you he ...more
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Truly inspiring! I started writing as a 10-years-old kid and I had never done it without J.K. Rowling's inspiration. A few years ago I even wrote fan mail to her and she replied to me personally which was brilliant. Another British role model who changed me as a person in a very early point of my life. This book is very fascinating, told in a lively way. Her whole life is like a fairytale itself... Her struggle from a poor single mother into an author millionaire keeps inspiring me when finally ...more
Eva Dillner
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've always enjoyed biographies and autobiographies. This book is in parts dry, but it was fascinating to read about the person behind the wonderful Harry Potter books. I'm heartened by her perseverance, and found it amusing how many publishers turned her down. Goes to show they haven't a clue what will take off or not. For every would be author the message is believe in your dreams, and have the courage to do something with them.
Terri Moore
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: authors
This is a popular biography and not a scholarly one. I enjoyed it because I am a writer who likes reading about the lives of other, successful writers. I would have appreciated more about the psychology and philosophy of Jo Rowling and more about her approach to writing. If you want a quick sketch of her life this is fine, but if you want more, try something else. If you know of a more scholarly work I would appreciate a recommendation.
Since this has been written before all the Harry Potter books had come out, it mainly tells about Rowling's life before Harry Potter happened. I got new information but lot of it I already knew because I've read so much about Rowling already from another sources. One day someone will write a biography of Rowling's whole life, so I'm going to wait for that next. Hopefully she will write lots of other books before that too.
Subbu Chandrasekaran
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
JK Rowling undoubtedly is an icon in her generation.. needless to say, one has to be get to know her life.. her humbling beginnings, her struggles.. how she pursued her passion.. and how she hit it all big.. and needless to say .. success really hasn't rattled her passion for writing or changed her as a person..

good read ... go for it
Laura Crosse
Jan 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this a good few years back and it was a really interesting insight into JK's world before Harry Potter. She really is an amazing lady and after reading this you won't begrudge her one penny of her fortune.
Jan 22, 2014 marked it as to-read
This book is going back on my to-read list. I was trying to read the Dutch translation. But all those Dutch words for things like muggles and names like Dumbledore etc, irritates me so much, it's just impossible to keep reading. So I will wait till I find an English copy.
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Although I loved to get to know more about J.K, I felt like I was reading a newspaper article. I felt like some things that were mentioned didn't really matter, and the writing style of the author bored me. I give it a 3 because I was very interested in Jo's life.
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Sean Smith is the UK’s leading celebrity biographer and the author of the number one bestseller Cheryl, as well as bestselling books about Tom Jones, Robbie Williams and Kate Middleton.

His books about the most famous people of our times has been translated throughout the world. His subjects include Adele, Kim Kardashian, Gary Barlow, Kylie Minogue, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Victoria Beck

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