Review: Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli


This personal and in-depth look at the dizzying pop-cultural phenomenon surrounding the Harry Potter series is written by the webmistress of the most popular and most trusted Harry Potter fan site on the Internet. (Source:Goodreads)

My Review:

I have wanted to read this book for a long time. Harry Potter was my life for about ten years, and the characters became my family. While the books were being published, all the other Potter devotees felt like family too. How many hours-days-months did I spend obsessing over every little detail J.K. Rowling let slip, reading MWPP fan-fiction and making fun of the people that actually thought Hermoine would end up with Harry? I’m pretty sure the amount of time I invested in this world is slightly insane – but I’m positive I don’t regret a single second.

I wanted this book to capture that. For the most part, I think it does. If anyone can understand devoting yourself to Harry Potter, it is Melissa Anelli. She made a career out of it! She accurately captures a lot of great memories from the years when the books were still being released. She had me smiling through a lot of the book. So, while I enjoyed it, I can’t imagine a lot of people that don’t understand and appreciate the Potter years getting much out of it.

In many ways, it tells the story of my generation (it even touches on 9/11!), because no one else will ever read or experience Harry Potter the way we did. We got to be a part of the process – we were told the story a little at a time, so we appreciate each book more than anyone that gets the whole series at once ever could.

But at the same time, we can all envy new readers. Melissa Anelli says it well (to set the stage, the following takes place a few days after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows):

I leaned against the metal pole of the subway car as we started chugging into the heart of New York City. If my music hadn’t stopped playing I might never have noticed – one, two, three, four at least ten people were holding up their giant orange books. Some were halfway through, some nearly all the way through. Some propped it on their legs, and a few more had taken off the jacket so as not to be inconspicuous. They spanned all ages, and were all engrossed.

One young woman, not much younger than me, sat near the end of my eye line; she was reading too, her colorful backpack on her lap and her arms circling it, her book acting as a buckle to hold it in place. I traveled to the next pole down to get a surreptitious closer look; she wasn’t reading Deathly Hallows at all. Her book wasn’t orange but rose and water and sand, and featured a kid on a broomstick and a white unicorn. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She didn’t notice me staring at her.

Oh, I envy you, I thought, but was smiling for her. She had just begun.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Miranda September 22, 2010, 5:03 am

    I have been waiting for this too! I had chills reading the excerpt you put in at the bottom of your post. I always look at the books people are reading in public and every time I can always pin point Harry Potter book from just the way it looks. I'll always cherish the HP series.

  • irisonbooks September 22, 2010, 11:08 am

    I am desperate to read this. Like you, it is hard to express just how much Harry Potter was a part of my life. I'm going to be so sad when the last movie is released..

  • Tara September 22, 2010, 1:21 pm

    This is going on my TBR list immediately!! Harry Potter has been such a huge part of my life as well, and while I am so excited for the seventh movies to come out, I'm also really sad that it is all coming to an end 🙁 Great review!

  • Jennie September 23, 2010, 12:59 am

    I hadn't heard of this book before today…thanks for opening my eyes to another HP related book! 🙂

  • April (BooksandWine) September 23, 2010, 2:38 pm

    Between this and the review on The Broke and The Bookish, I am DYING to read this book!!

  • Sarah September 23, 2010, 7:28 pm

    Yes, I too was a Harry potter obsessed kid/teen. I remember standing in line at midnight for most of the books, I thought it was so awesome.. My dad used to let me skip school to go to the movie premieres… When they actually came out in the fall, which the first couple came out. I was in sixth grade when the sorcerers stone movie came out and all of my friends were so jealous… Oh good times


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