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Why I Hate Harry Potter,
This review is from: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) (Hardcover)
Harry Potter is everywhere lately, featured on the cover of Time (but not as man of the year yet), making the rounds of the TV talk shows (in the guise of the author J.K. Rowling), and holding the top three slots on the NY Times Bestseller List. He's making headlines as both the savior of literacy and the spawn of Satan. But what's lost in this all this noise is the fact that, when all is said and done, Harry Potter is boring. He's popular the way Big Macs are popular; it's easy to sell something bland and formulaic....
The second problem is the gross simplicity of the plot and characters. Magic works in these novels the same way Waylon Jennings' singing worked in the TV show The Dukes of Hazard. Whenever Bo, Luke and Daisy got into a pickle they couldn't get out of, the show would cut to Waylon Jennings singing yet another variation of "Good Ol' Boys" and the problem would be miraculously solved. Logic, character development, consistency even within the parameters of the story, were always ignored. Harry has the same luck. Whenever he's in a jam or things aren't going well, he manages to find some long lost spell or some arcane rule of quidditch to make everything all right.
Character development is, of course, out of the question. Just like the rule requiring every Big Mac around the world to taste equally bland, every character in the Potter books is either good or bad from start to finish. Harry runs the emotional gamut from A to A and back again. The villains twirl their mustaches and cackle like an army of Snidely Whiplashes. The characters in the Potter books are all gross cartoon exaggerations; but as Homer Simpson has proven, even cartoon characters can have hearts. Too bad Harry hasn't learned that.
The real trouble with Harry is that his oversized ego and the hype all around him is crowding everybody else out of the field of new children's books. He's like the George W. Bush of children's literature. If you want to read books that don't insult the intelligence of your inner child try Holes by Louis Sachar, or The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg. Jules Feiffer has two amazing novels: A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears and The Man in the Ceiling. Or if you need something British try The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan. Like Harry, these books were all written in the last five or six years; and like Harry, they all have magic of one kind or another. But unlike Harry, these books are also fresh and intelligent....