Saturday, July 21, 2007

a small complaint

I like Harry Potter. I am slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I'm a pretty big fan of children & young adult literature in general, so it's not exactly out of character.

I kind of wish I'd gone to one of the big New York City bookstores last night, though not to buy a copy of the book, mind you. My mother, sweet and wonderful bookworm that she is, has made a point of buying for my brother and myself a copy of each and every Potter book, so I have to wait to read this latest and last installment until Nate brings back our shared copy from Washington at the end of August. In the meantime, I'm happily rereading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. But I wish I'd gone to witness the excitement and insanity of the biggest single publishing event probably in the history of the world.

But on to my complaint. Apparently J.K. Rowling is in a tizzy because the New York Times has already published a review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As she put it, "I am staggered that American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children, who wanted to reach Harry’s final destination by themselves, in their own time."

And in response to the review, several readers have seen fit to admonish and reprimand the newspaper in letters the Times has obligingly published. As one young woman put it, "Why would you do such a thing?! Why would you take away that one special moment a reader has when he or she finds out what really happens?" And another reader railed, "As someone who has been reading the series since 2000, I am extraordinarily annoyed that The Times would try to subvert my reading experience with this information."

People, people, get a grip. Don't whine. Don't gripe. Don't be staggered that a newspaper dared to publish a book review under the non-spoiler-filled, pretty benign headline An Epic Showdown as Harry Potter Is Initiated Into Adulthood. If the information in this headline is shocking to you, than you're an idiot. And if you go on to read the review itself, thus exposing yourself to potential spoilers, then you deserve to have the book "spoiled." Demonstrate self control. If you don't, deal with the (relatively minor, in the greater scheme of things) consequences. Simple enough.

And J.K. Rowling, how many kids do you know who read book reviews in the New York Times, anyway?

1 comment:

Myster said...

I purposely did not read the review until after I read the book. The only thing I found upsetting about it (other than its headline mocking me from the Times' homepage in the days before the book's release) was an inappropriately unassuming, almost offhand, remark about how the book was purchased by the reviewer in a Manhattan bookstore despite the embargo. WHAT?