Monday, August 22, 2005

Potter.. Does popularity breed jealousy, or do rabid fans scare critics?

Following a discussion of this article I wrote an admittedly snide remark on my teen list_serv about how Rowling simply wrote a better story, and writers who are convinced she somehow stole something from them should get over it and appreciate the fact that she brought readers back to their older novels. I was certainly a reader who was terribly excited to find Wizard's Hall, but when I read it, I was horribly disappointed at its simplistic and border-line lame story. Mrs. Reader from Amazon concurs:

I read a recent interview Ms. Yolen gave on [...]where she complained that J.K. Rowling stole all her ideas to write the Harry Potter series. Intrigued, I checked Wizard's Hall out from the library. There is definately a wizard wanna-be named Henry with a red-haired pal and folks wearing robes. There is also a whole lot of boring! Boring boring boring! There is no background or description. The story jumps quickly from scene to scene. I read all the Harry Potter books as an adult and enjoyed them very much. Maybe this one is so bad in comparison because it is for children only. I think Ms. Yolen should keep her lips zipped and understand that wizards and red-hair have been around a lot longer than the printing press.

After posting my assertion, I should have expected to be snapped at for not placing the feminine, groveling, "in my opinion" before my statements. I think its pretty clear that by calling one thing better than another, I WAS stating my opinion, but obviously stating that Potter was BETTER really got their goat.

I can believe that writers angst over Rowling, among them Yolen and Pratchett. They're writers.. they're in competition.. they can't understand why people prefer the adverb laden prose of Rowling to their more stylish literature. Of course, most kids, not to mention adults, don't give a crap about adverbs, but hey, writers are focused on their craft, and that's great. Criticism can lead to interesting conversations.

But librarians who dislike Potter with loud vehemence confuse me. Shouldn't librarians be championing this book as a motivator of thousands of non-readers? I certainly can't enjoy Cirque Du Freak novels, but God bless them if kids like them and they overshadow my favorite suspense/horror fiction.

Maybe I'm young. Maybe they're more dicerning readers. Whatever the case may be, if someone catches me decrying the next Goosebumps and the destruction of literature, the .22 is in the basement.


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