Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

HallowsHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling

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So, did anyone else not know that Joanne Rowling has no middle name?  That she adopted her grandmother’s first name as her middle name to create a gender-neutral name, so that Harry Potter would appeal more to boys, and that word-of-mouth recommendations among young male readers helped capitulate Harry Potter to the ruler of the world tops of the bestseller charts?  I didn’t know anything about that until today.

See, I’m no Potter Fanboy.  I enjoy the series, and was on the leading edge of people discovering the books when they hit the US, but I didn’t get so caught up in it that I was delving into all the little details behind the stories.  Because, when you finish the books and look back on them, there are portions of the stories that simply don’t make sense.  Character motivations come into question, as well as the convenience of nearly all the major events in the stories.  But, see, you tend not to notice these things when you’re reading the book, because Rowling is such a great storyteller.  You’re simply caught up in the stories, and nothing else tends to matter.

I finished this book late last night, after imposing a TV/news/Internet blackout at my house.  Too many people were talking about the story, flat-out spoiling it for many people (one local bone-headed newscaster started his piece by saying, “I’m going to read the last chapter of the final volume of the Harry Potter saga…”), and since I work in a library, where people are wanting to read and talk about the story, I figured it was time to get cracking on the book.  So, I raced through this final chapter, as if wolfing down a seven-course gourmet meal in ten minutes.

I’m not going to talk about the book, though, because if you’re a fan, you’re going to read it anyway, and there’s no sense in me spoiling it for you.  And if you’re not a fan, then nothing I can say here will change your mind.  But this book is on par with the rest of the series, which to me is a good thing.

And that’s really all you need to know.

July 23, 2007 Posted by | Juvenile Fiction, Reviews | Leave a comment

My Dead Girlfriend

GirlfriendMy Dead Girlfriend by Eric Wight

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I’m not sure what the distinction of “manga” is, anymore.  Tokyopop and other publishers of manga are publishing more and more stories by American authors, drawn by American artists, so the line between a standard graphic novel and manga is becoming blurred for me.  It doesn’t really make much sense, but then again, I’m not a follower of manga, so maybe I’m missing some subtle distinction.

The sad thing is, what drew me to My Dead Girlfriend was Joss Whedon’s little cover blurb in the upper right corner (you can even see it in the picture there).  I’m not all that impressed with what I’ve read of Joss Whedon so far, but I should clarify that I’ve never seen “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Firefly.”  My only exposure to him is through one or two graphic novels, neither of which sang to me like I was expecting.  “Don’t believe the hype,” I guess, as Chuck D once told me.

Following Whedon’s recommendation, I think it was Wight’s art style that next captured my attention.  It reminds me somewhat of “The Fairly Oddparents,” a favorite Nicktoon of mine.  After those two things, though, it was the premise that won me over.  The main character lives in a world of monsters and ghosts (his own parents were electrocuted while riding the Tunnel of Love at a fair, and seem nonplussed about it), but he is the lone “normal” person in the town.  Which makes him weird.  Get it?

The story, though, is pretty banal.  Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again, though now she’s dead, and a ghost.  And that, really, sums up the entire graphic novel.  Seriously.  Nothing is really resolved; the entire thing seems like exposition.  And it’s set in junior high school, of all things, so once again, the biggest issues at hand are dating, peer pressure, tests, etc.  I wonder if I’m getting too old for this sort of thing….

So, Eric Wight.  My Dead Girlfriend.  American author-artist.  Manga.

I don’t get it.

July 23, 2007 Posted by | Graphic Novels, Reviews | Leave a comment