Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 11 Sep 2003
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The bestselling HB parody hits paperback.
Barry Trotter is 22 and has never left the Hogwash School of Magic - there's been no need; after all, G.K. Rollin's books about him have made him a millionaire and Barry is perfectly happy to while away his days as a perpetual (loaded) student. The hoardes of Muddles who hang around outside Hogwash desperate to see him, touch him, are a bit of pain, but he can deal with that. But then comes news that Hollywood is planning a film of Rollin's first book about Barry. And they all know what that means: loss of creative control; cheap merchandising; millions more Muddles swarming over Hogwash. Barry agrees a plan with Bumblemore; the film must be stopped. BARRY TROTTER AND THE SHAMELESS PARODY is an incisive and hilarious parody of the Harry Potter phenomenon. There are slyly affectionate digs at the books themselves, but Gerber's main scorn is directed at the monster that the Harry Potter franchise has become. The book has a creative energy all its own, introducing characters and a hilarious take on magic that even J.K Rowling might appreciate.See all Product description
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I also purchased 'Bored Of The Rings,' which I imagine is be published by the same people because it is the same size hardback book, because I had read this 20 years ago and unfortunately did not find this as funny as I had done originally.
Buy it for your kids to read and then borrow it for yourself.
Barry Trotter's main problems lie in its content and the fact that clearly the author has some kind of agenda beneath the gags and poking fun at the series. The problem is that often this message gets in the way of advancing the plot and had the author stuck with the events of maybe Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone with an already laid out plot which could have had plenty of gags on - can think of plenty of ways the giant chess game could have been done humourously, then maybe the laughs would have gotten through. Barry Trotter's main point is actually a decent one, it's all about the money being pumped out of the franchise through the films, and the way the books are disregarded as opposed to the inferior (no offence to the films but the books are always better) movies which people see more often and don't know what they're missing in terms of depth, power and heart. Whilst this is a good point that I fully support this is a parody with the main idea to parody the events of the stroy, and to an even further point - make the reader laugh.
Now this is a funny book, plenty of gags throughout, the names are all parodied with some very funny, in the same style as Bored of the Rings did for its characters. The plot satirises many parts of the books to a humourous manner with the limits of magic being one of them, as well as the oddities of the characters. The book even makes fun of the fanbase for Harry Potter and the lunacy many of the fans of the series have.
The problem comes near the end mainly and the fact that the comedy is presented in quite a dull way. Parodies mainly work with the structure of many long sentences with the jokes at the end whereas Gerber's prefers a conventional style of mixed range. Evidence of this is found in Bored of the Rigns which emphasises that how content is presented is just as important as the gags themselves. And then the other problem lies in the fact that after a major plot point and the usual confrontation with Lord Valuemart, which is quite funny as a scene, the book goes downhill without a chance of recovery. It's too nice and lovey-dovey, everyone smiling and being happy. In some respects, it turns too wet whereas had it continued a dry, cynical tone of parody as opposed to making its own point it would have worked better humour-wise. Also becuase it strayed away from the established plot of the books then the story falls apart with a lack of ideas mainly and a lot of padding to make up for it.
So whilst it's a funny book and given time I'd read it again, it has some writing problems and ultimately doesn't measure up to many parodies of the past. But for die-hards and haters of Harry Potter it'll work for both of you very nicely but it's just a silly parody and it does what it's meant to do.
But I don't think it will be as entertaining at all if you haven't read at least the three first Harry Potter books. Even the look-a-like names made me laugh.
I would be surprised if this book couldn't draw a smile on J.K. Rowling's face. There's absolutely no reason, as I see it, to send the "I hate you" note you'll find at the very end - and that's spoken by a true (not fanatic) Harry Potter fan.
I don't consider it a children's book though because of the sexual innuendo that appears occasionally and usually on behalf of Ermine.
Entertainment wise it's easily a four star book but all the clever and hilarious messages and notes earn the fifth star from me.