Muggles and Magic: J. K. Rowling and the Harry Potter Phenomenon

George Beahm, Author Hampton Roads Publishing Company $16.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-57174-412-8
Gushing with enthusiasm and admiration, Beahm's compendium of Harry Potter trivia and essays should help tide over fans impatiently waiting for book six to come out. Chapters like ""The Real World of J.K. Rowling"" (by contributor Stephen McGinty) and ""The Magic of Words: A Storyteller's World"" vividly recount the history behind the Harry Potter novels and their renowned author. ""Although in later years Rowling would have cause to regret her portrayal as 'poverty-stricken single mum makes good,' those stories gave her a profile most first-time authors could only dream about,"" McGinty wisely observes, but the rest of the book is less even-handed. Beahm is clearly an unalloyed fan, and his chapters on the books and their screen interpretations contain little by way of a critique. This may be just as well for Potter fans, who will appreciate Beahm's cataloging of Potter Web sites and merchandise. The book also includes a 72-page glossary of Potter terms and characters, like ""Acid Pops"" and ""Mortlake,"" as well as an unofficial guide to Potter-related locations in Britain, such as Rowling's childhood home in Winterbourne and the reptile house at the London Zoo, ""where Harry speaks Parseltongue to a snake."" Throughout, Beahm pitches the prose right; it's both sophisticated enough to interest adults and lively enough to keep younger fans engaged.
Reviewed on: 05/01/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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