I’m not the only one

I’m not the only one
: Jackie risks offending Harry Potter freak/fans:

I gave into the Harry Potter thing this weekend and read the new book. I am stunned — and I mean STUNNED — at how mediocre the writing is. It makes me even more awed by JK Rowling, though, because she’s made a huge success out of something that’s not actually very good. As someone who is not outrageously talented, I take comfort in this.

  • Jeremy

    Hmmm, well I just got it today from the library and I’m only about a 1/3 of the way through it.
    Pretty much like the other ones, though the tone is a lot darker. (I can also see why the Guardian thought it was a “right wing” or whatever they called it book – the main villains work for the government – the semi-sinister “Ministry of Magic”)
    I think her writing style is somewhat similar to Agatha Christie or Earl Stanley Garner or Louis L’Amour. Not the best in the world, technically, and it’s not art, but very enjoyable to read.

  • John

    They are childrens books for Pete’s sake…. lighten up.

  • Gary Utter

    They are childrens books. While it would be nice to expose children to GOOD writing, getting them to read for pleasure is far more important.
    Let them learn to love reading, and they will eventually discover good writing on thier own.
    Meanwhile, Rowling tells a good story, and if you don’t like her writing, a hell of a lot of people do.
    It’s certainly better than reality television.

  • Besides, “good writing” is a matter of taste, no matter what critics say. I’ve read a lot of what people touted to me as “the writing is beautiful! the style! lyrical!” blah blah blah, that just left me cold.

  • Brant Hadaway

    This is like saying Star Wars was a bad movie because it lacked the lyricism of the neo-realists, or some such babble.
    J.K. Rowling is an effective and highly talented storyteller, period.

  • Wow.This topic really gets people going like no other for some reason. I just stopped by to say that Slate is doing one of their Breakfast Table thingies on the new book, and its the best, most reasonable discussion of its literary merits I’ve seen anywhere, and not because its negative about them. In fact David Edelstein, their movie critic, apparently loves these books and especially the new one. His points are making me view the first four in ways I’d never thought of. The other person, a freelance writer, is also a fan, but disappointed with the new one. Its a pretty lively, engaging discussion of something about which I didn’t think there was that much left to say.

  • JorgXMcKie

    Look, kids go for the story first. They’re highly unlikely to want to read very much Joyce Carol Oates, no matter how good a writer she may be. It would be nice if all good story tellers were also excellent writers, but basically all they _have_ to do is to write well enough to get the story across, if it’s a strong story.

  • balbulican

    I gave into the “beer” thing this weekend and drank a bottle of this hops-based fermented beverage. I am stunned — and I mean STUNNED — at how mediocre the flavour is. “Beer” lacks the savoury, tarry, earthy aroma and rural nose of even the cheapest Pinot Noir. Nor did I find its finish had the complexity and depth of an inexpensive Beaujolais. I simply cannot account for the apparent popularity of this clearly inferior beverage, and can only see its success as a sad example of the triumph of mediocrity in our time.

  • the Idler

    Yeah, I read it this weekend as well. Like a previous poster said, it’s written at about a 5th grade level- i.e. for and about kids. As such, it ain’t so bad, and certainly better than having your children watch TV.
    That being said, this stuff is miles behind Tolkien (which was written for kids), and it’s not near as good as the “His Dark Materials” trilogy which also covers the exploits of a plucky underdog kid thrown into extraordinary and magical circumstances.
    Bottom line though- it’s rather refreshing to be discussing the merits of a BOOK and how seriously children should take it vs. whether or not your daughters should emulate Britney Spears and her proto slut act, is it not? Kind of brings up the level of discourse don’t it?

  • KMK

    balbulican – That was brilliant.