Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli

14 Nov




I am reading the most wonderfully, magnificent, incredible and enjoyable book I have read in ages. It is a breath of fresh air and I’m thrilled that I picked it up. I’m talking about Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli.

I remember the first time I read Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone.

I had ignored the buzz surrounding Harry Potter for a long time. I remember thinking: No book could possibly be that good. I would see people reading it on the buss, on lunch breaks, line ups. “Bah,” I would say. No book could be that good. And I ignored it still.

I’m not sure why I did now. I must have been annoying about it however because one day, my closest friend at the time handed me something. It was a gift certificate. “What’s this for?” I asked her.

“If you won’t read the damn book, let me buy it for you.” She said.

“Which book?”

“You know damn well which book. You use this gift certificate to buy Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone and nothing else. Then, if you don’t like it, you didn’t waste any money on it.” She glared at me, daring me to argue. “Alright?”

I remember staring at her, unbelieving, and taking the time to light a cigarette before responding. “The book is that good?”

She nodded. “The best.” She said. “Just read it and you’ll see.”

I did what she said. She and I had the same reading tastes and I figured if she said it was good, it probably was. A small part of me still doubted her. But I went to the bookstore at the mall downtown and picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. I hopped on a buss to go home and opened the book to the first page.

I remember being spellbound. I was held in place and all my focus was on the words on the pages in front of me. All that existed for me was Harry. I had found it. I had finally found home in the pages of a book.

I have the same feeling when I read Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli. Perhaps you can already guess at what it’s about.

Anelli, popular web mistress of the award winning The Leaky Cauldron (www.leakynews.com), a superb Harry Potter fan site, has penned a book of what the Harry Potter phenomenon was like from the inside out. She has written a stunning history of JK Rowling, the Harry Potter books and the Boy Who Lived. From the first page, I was pulled into what I knew was going to be a treat. I stopped walking and sat down in the middle of a mall on a hard metal chair, people milling about me, totally immersed in the words I was reading. Harry, A History pulled me in from the first words and didn’t let go.

The writing is lively and invites the reader to sit, to read, to enjoy. It’s lively and engaging and full of fact and tidbits of Harry’s beginnings and it’s first tentative steps and what it felt like for a fan, for any of us, to experience Harry Potter.

More than that though, it’s a beautiful portrait of one woman’s struggle to find herself, to find joy in books and finally, in the end, do something useful. It’s a brilliant, literary page turner about something that brings joy to so many.

I started it last week and I am fifty pages away from finishing the book a second time. Though there were a lot of things I should have done today, there was nothing that I wanted to do more than read Harry, A History.

You can learn more about the book by visiting www.harrahistory.com

If you have ever read Harry Potter, or experienced it’s life beyond the printed page, you will want to read Harry, A History. Trust me on this. I can’t afford to give out gift certificates to all of you; so you’re just going to have to take my word for it, okay?

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