Skip to Content

Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon

Author: Melissa Anelli
Originally Published: 2008
Publisher: Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster
Source: Purchased at Chapters

The Story

Melissa Anelli is the webmistress of The Leaky Cauldron, the best Harry Potter news site on the web. She has been one of the central figures in the middle of the Harry Potter fandom and phenomenon for years, starting as your average fan to becoming webmistress of Leaky, and even having a chance to interview JKR. Harry, A History tells not only her journey through the HP fandom, but also talks about a lot of the different things that were around in fandom – from fanfiction and LJ communities and shipping wars, to fan conventions and wizard rock.

The Review

I can’t believe so much time has passed since the last HP book was released! Goodness time has gone by so quickly! I will fully admit that I wanted nothing to do with HP for the longest time. It wasn’t until some point between GoF and OotP that I actually even picked one of the books up – and I fell in love immediately. And then, to tide me over until the release of OotP, I discovered fandom.

I was only ever on the outskirts, but I still witnessed a lot of what was going on. And Harry, A History was like such a trip down memory lane. There was so much there that I remember discovering for the first time, and it was so wonderful to spend that time reminiscing. There was also so much that, surprisingly, I had completely forgotten about – like Laura Mallory’s attempts at getting the HP books banned (yes I remembered that people tried to ban them, but had forgotten all about Mallory herself).

Anyway! This book is partially Anelli’s memoir, but it is also so much more than that. Anelli goes into what HP means for her, where she was when certain events happened, how the HP fandom changed her life. But then it is also so much a commemorative look at the fandom. Hearing about Anelli’s growth in the HP fandom was only part of the charm of the book. HP fans will be able to see themselves in parts of this book – will be able to go, yeah! I remember that! I was a part of that! I was a part of this awesome phenomenon that took over the world and changed so many things! (Because yes, the HP phenomenon DID change things – it brought together all sorts of people who would never meet to do such amazing things. Like, who would ever think to have a rock show in a library before?)

So definitely a thoroughly enjoyable book, and now I am so wanting to go back and reread all of the HP books.

The Bottom Line

This is a must-read for people who were involved in the Harry Potter fandom – even if it was on the outskirts like I was. It’s a good tribute to everything we were a part of, and reminded me completely of why I loved both the series and the fandom. Highly recommended.

Other Reviews

Shooting Stars Mag, The Zen Leaf, A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy, Sassymonkey Reads, Bart’s Bookshelf. Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Let me know and I’ll add your link.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 9:17 am January 30, 2010.
Category: Non-Fiction
Book Author(s):
Publisher(s): ,

  • http://sassymonkeyreads.ca sassymonkey

    I think we must have discovered Harry Potter at about the same time. I read the first four Harry Potters in May of 2002. I remember because I had just finished my last full semester of school (still had one summer course to do) and had about a month off before I started my post-university job. I gobbled them up in about a week. And yep, then the fandom.