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J. K. Rowling: A Biography (Unauthorized Edition) Hardcover – March 30, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up-In a preface, Kirk discusses her sources; she obtained every biography in print, watched or read transcripts of every available live or taped interview, and searched the Internet. Data is presented in seven chapters, five appendixes, and a bibliography that sorts resources into several sections. Although there is information about the author herself, the majority of the content is devoted to analyzing her writing. Chapter one likens Rowling to Harry Potter in that they both went from rags to riches. Her work is compared to a number of genres and series in both children's and adult literature. Throughout, Kirk follows up facts with speculations as to their meaning or significance and/or possible outcomes that may occur. For example, after describing Hermione in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, Kirk says, "Only time will tell if any similarities to Shakespeare's Hermione will pop up for her namesake in the Harry Potter novels." One chapter compares Rowling's books to other fantasy novels and discusses the banning of her books for endorsing witchcraft, the occult, and/or devil worship. The scholarly writing style and evaluative content make this volume useful to high school students studying Rowling and her work.
Kathleen Simonetta, Indian Trails Public Library District, Wheeling, IL
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

?A must-have for school and public libraries. Kirk has written an appealing and highly readable introduction to the publishing phenomenon known as Harry Potter....The publisher and author are to be commended on a job well done!?-ARBA Online
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Product Details

  • Series: Greenwood Biographies
  • Hardcover: 155 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwood (March 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313322058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313322051
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,617,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book brings together in one place a lot of the information about Rowling's life that you've read in bits and pieces online or in newspapers and magazines, or have heard about in television or radio interviews. As a fellow writer herself, Kirk brings an important insight to her look at Rowling's background that journalists have not captured. She describes her not only as a girl growing up in England in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s but also as a woman who believed in writing Harry Potter's story even when the odds were stacked against her by a world culture that does not value the middle class attempting to work in the arts. This is the first biography to avoid the sentimentality of the "poor, single mother" image and consider Rowling as a temporarily unemployed, college-educated woman who kept her head, worked as a teacher, and took care of her daughter while at the same time remaining dedicated to her writing and particularly to Harry Potter's story. If Harry feels like a beloved character to the millions who read his story, that is because the author "met" him, nurtured him, and believed in him first and infused him with love and courage.
This book considers the places and times where and when the author grew up and lived (such as the Forest of Dean in the West Country of England and the 1960s and 70s) and how that context and what was also going on in the world at that time may have directly influenced Rowling's sensibilities, humanitarianism, and work. This strategy in the book continues as important moments in Rowling's life are described parallel to world events until, remarkably, they intersect around September 11th, 2001, when the first Harry Potter film is released that fall to a public much in need of a bit of fantasy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Most of the books about J. K. Rowling are either too young for me or are just gossip about her. This book tells me about her life and her writing and about Harry Potter in a way I like. It's for older kids and adults. It's the most up-to-date book about J. K. Rowling on Amazon. There is a lot of information in the back, too, like addresses where to write to her and addresses for the charities she's involved with. It has pictures in it, too. I got this book as a gift, since my dad knew I would already get Order of the Phoenix. I love this book! I love J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter! I recommend this book to everyone who loves J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter like I do!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
My mom and I both read this book while we were waiting for Harry Potter #5 to come out. It has some things in it I've never heard of before about Ms. Rowling. My mom said she thought the Forest of Dean near where Ms. Rowling grew up sounded like a magical place and maybe that's where some of her ideas came from. We loved the names of the mushrooms they have there! We liked this book a lot and recommend it to any Harry Potter fans out there who would like to know more about the author. It's also the most up-to-date biography we know of--it even mentions her new baby!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
......read this book about the great writer, J. K. Rowling! I like how she played guitar and drew pictures, besides doing her writing. The author of this biography says that J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter are like the Beatles. From what my parents say about them, I think so, too. Then I heard on the webcast interview from London that J. K. Rowling's favorite group is the Beatles--so, it's like this author knew that already! You'll love this book if you like Harry Potter and J. K. Rowling. I love the names of the fungi in the Forest of Dean. If you grew up there, maybe you'd have J. K. Rowling's imagination, too! She read lots of books, too, which figures, doesn't it? This book tells more about the books she read than any other book I've seen about her. Over the summer, I'm going to write a letter to J. K. Rowling using her addresses in the back of this book. This book is packed with information! Buy it and read it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It's great to finally find a decent biography about J. K. Rowling. Only a brief glance at the bibliography will reveal just how hard Kirk worked on this book. It's hard to believe that this is the first time such a conscientious effort was made. But the result is remarkable. This book is, in my opinion, the most informative and complete source for Rowling's life written to date.
That said, this book is certainly not without its flaws. Kirk tends to repeat herself, mentioning the fact that Rowling wrote her notes in longhand at least four times. Moreover, at times, the writing style seems slightly less sophisticated for the targeted audience. I place more blame for this on the editor than on the author, however. But these are really just nitpicks. I wholeheartedly recommend this book as an addition to your Harry Potter library.
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J. K. Rowling: A Biography (Unauthorized Edition)
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