Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I was torn between wanting to race through this book and dreading the end. Everyone knew a central character was going to die and I didn't want to be right about who I thought it was. Harry is getting older now and flirtations and crushes enter the storylines. I like that he and his friends remain true to one another and, despite their powers and problems, continue to be such nice kids. Ms. Rowling certainly leaves very little out. The stories aren't rushed, the characters are well developed. I never feel like she changes the rules midstream. I anxiously await the next book in the series.
I did totally enjoy the Harry Potter books. I devoured them as they came out, although not the way some of those little kids did it. I happened to pass through a bookstore just before a release. The Barnes and Noble was filled with kids and adults dressed like witches and wizards. They all got bracelets with their number in the line and were free to enjoy the store, and even come and go. I never really understood all of that. They printed plenty of those books and it didn't matter if you were first in line at the Deptford, New Jersey Barnes and Noble to buy your copy. At least, not in the grand scheme of things. I was, however, thrilled to see children and their parents so excited over the release of a book.
I remember news stories where reporters spoke to the kids in line and many of them, purchased their book at midnight, went home and proceeded to immediately read it straight through to the end, without stopping, without sleeping. I'm pretty sure that their families weren't too happy with the amount of crankiness that made for the next day. But, at the time I found it to be, while unnecessary, awfully sweet.
I have since read the entire series twice, listened to the entire series on audio and, of course, seen all of the films at least once. When the final book was due out, I didn't have time in my reading schedule to reread the series, so I requested the unabridged audio books from my local library and I have to say, I totally recommend them, Jim Dale is absolutely astoundingly good. Not long before I started listening I read an article that said that no matter where he went, children would recognize his voice. I believe it.
Rowling deserves the accolades and credit she got for her work. She got people so excited about reading and there is nothing that makes me happier. Now, the first book was really a by-the-numbers formulaic mystery. It could have been written by Phyllis Whitney or been a caper for Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. The fact that she made those characters so likable and so easy to relate to, made all the difference. Of course, she also paved the way for so many crappy series that came after and reaped the benefit of work.
I've been thinking about giving the series another go. I do have the entire series on a bookshelf at home. Some days as I dust them, I think I should reread those books. Of course, I have binders, literally many many binders, filled with pages and pages of books I want to read and not a day goes by that I don't hear about or read about at least one more book that I should read. There is another reason I don't dive back in. As I get older, I find I have less patience with Harry and his friends having the exact same problem. No matter what is going on with their big bad guys, the kids have the same communication issues every year. They never seem to get past them. I would think that, at some point, they would be a little more willing to give each other the benefit of the doubt, yet they never do. I start to find that wearisome. I do love the world and the characters that Rowling created for us, but some days I don't feel as much like I've escaped into another world as I feel that I've got grown up problems and the kid crap is just annoying. Clearly, this is my personal issue and I'm more than willing to own up to it. I wonder if I'm the only one who feels this way.
My grand idea. Yes, you heard it hear first, although I've been telling it to people for ages is that someone should make a television show out of it. Although I do like how they are creating television shows using books as start off points and then jumping into the fray. I think that most interesting books would be awesome if made into mini-series style TV shows. You wouldn't have to cut stuff from the book to fit into a movie timeline and you wouldn't have to worry about the quality going downhill because the producers and directors run out of good ideas. I would love to see the major networks, or even the cable channels start doing this. You could spend 20 or more weeks telling the story of each book. In the case of Harry Potter, it would really be perfect, since each book begins at the end of the summer and ends with the school year. No one would be able to complain that their favorite bit was edited out, because it could all be in there. I know, I know, I'm a genius, right?
Well, that's it for my little trip down memory lane and my updated thoughts on the subject. I'll be back soon with more new reviews and book links!