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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 3 October 2001
As a fan of the Harry Potter books, I was intrigued to read this biography, mainly as there seems to be a great deal of mythology about Rowling herself. Interestingly, the book dispels some of these myths (including her place of birth) and reveals the real person behind the headlines (and the millions).
In my opinion, the highlight of the book is the detail about Rowling's childhood, pieced together from interviews with former friends, neighbours and teachers. I also enjoyed reading about her slightly rebellious student years and - much later - her attempts to improve things for herself and her young daughter after the break-up of her marriage, through teacher training and the submission of a certain manuscript to a literary agent. Like all the best stories, this one has a fairy-tale ending and if you are a Potter fan like me, you will delight both in the final chapters and the references to events in Rowling's life which inspired parts of the Harry Potter saga.
I thought I knew quite a lot about J K Rowling, but having read this book, I realise there is more to her than the familiar rags-to-riches story of the penniless single mother.
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on 15 May 2004
Really a must read for anyone who consider themselves as a Harry Potter fan(and especially for someone who consider themselves as a J.K. Rowling fan, which I have to say I very much am, even more than a HP fan) this book was clearly written by a person who honours J.K. Rowling a great deal, as much as she should be. Sean Smith clearly is a fan, but that doesn't stop him from critisizing some little things, which is good. Overall he clearly thinks of JKR as a survivor, which she is.
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on 9 October 2001
This book is a great read and tells you loads of things which you didn't know about JK. I was very surprised to find that I couldn't put the book down and neither could my friend who read it after me, even her ten year old son found it fab. I am definitely going to buy this as a present for someone special at xmas.
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on 13 November 2001
Sean Smith's brilliant biography of J.K. Rowling was a must read for me since my teenage sons, my wife and I are daffy over all things Potter. Just as with a Harry Potter book, I was saddened to find the last page come all too soon. This biography is a triumph. Smith combines a compelling subject with his clever and very readable prose to produce a book that is sure to satisfy Rowling's legion of fans at home and abroad. His tireless research and intelligent insights into connections between his subject's life and the mythology she creates in her fiction are highly credible. There are many surprises here, even for those already familiar with Rowling's amazing rise to the top of the publishing world. Smith's writing entertains without sensationalizing. Ulimately this literary jewel sparkles like J.K. Rowling eyes on the cover photograph. Smith describes her in the end as a woman who looks rich. He should know; his writing
feels rich to this reader.
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on 6 January 2014
It just answered my questions of why she chose to write about the fictional characters. In fact they were based on her life as a child with the neighbours and her playmates.
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on 19 December 2011
I was a little apprehensive, at first, about purchasing this book. Other writers have written about Jo's life, but their biographies are, perhaps, summarised accounts, or contain extraneous details. With the vast amount of information available today, I was a little sceptical that this biography would be dated or unfaithful. This book is on the contrary.

It was a pleasure to read, and I found it quite instructive. Sean has gone to considerable lengths to interview those connected, in some fashion, to Jo. Some of the research is quite astounding, in particular, her childhood days and upbringing. Being an avid Harry Potter reader, I thought I had a firm grasp of Jo's story already. The book, however, goes into further detail, which is pleasing to know. Sean doesn't drift, but stays on target, whilst exploring the material available at the time, which he pieces together wonderfully. Ten years on, the book is still relevant, and still enjoyable. I wish I had read it sooner. The book starts, and continues at a good thorough pace, although towards the end, the pace picks up somewhat. Unlike a few other books I've perused, this isn't heavy reading, which explores Potter, and what may or may not lie underneath the wizardry. It's about Jo's life. I really cannot fault it, and would be happy to recommend it.

Sean Smith has done remarkable well, but I hope Jo will, some day, write her autobiography. That would be such a treasure to read.
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on 1 August 2013
compelling biography from one of the world's greatest authors. tells the story of how Harry Potter all originally began and how it became so successful. definitely highly recommended for Harry Potter fans like myself.
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on 9 September 2015
This was bought for my 14 year old grandaughter and I had put it in a safe place but forgot to give it to her last Christmas. She is Harry Potter mad so she had an unexpected extra present in January.She loved it.
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on 15 September 2014
I'm about two thirds through this book and think it's brilliant. I can't put it down. Sean Smith is a great writer, And I really think this story of J.K Rowling is fascinating. I love her she's Brilliant.
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on 16 September 2013
I love Harry Potter and think J.K.Rowling is a very clever and talented woman. She has overcome great struggles in her life but despite that she never gave up on her dream of being a writer.
This book although insightful in places, tended to waffle on and on and make comparisons where there just wasn't any to be made. Pretty much all of the information on Joanna in the book can be found easily on the internet.
Not worth reading.
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