Friday, July 20, 2007

End of an era

This is it. The last few hours before the last Harry Potter book is released.

Being 24 years old does not stop me from feeling a thrill each time I think of how close I am to finally finding out what happens to Harry and his friends. It's sad, too, because I think it's the end of an era in more ways than one.

No more Harry Potter mysteries to look forward to, or theories to discuss with my sister and husband and friends.

And in another way, I'm glad the book is finally here. I'm afraid that if I were much older than I am now, I would not be quite as excited--I'm teetering on the brink of being almost too old to love them in the way I have for so long.

Maybe that doesn't make sense. People of all ages love Harry Potter, obviously. But my reading tastes have changed since I picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when I was in early high school. And I think that books will never affect you as much as they do when you're young. At least, I feel a deeper attachment to the books I loved when I was in grade school--Babysitter's Club, Nancy Drew--than I have to anything I've read in recent years. Not to say I haven't loved many books I've read; now that I'm older I have a deeper appeciation for the brilliant construction of a book, the nuances of theme and all of that. And of course, Ann M. Martin and the Carolyn Keene writers are never going to win a Pulitzer.

But my point is, can we ever be as thoroughly attached to characters or get as much pure, uncluttered enjoyment out of a book as we do when we're young? I don't think so.

It's that thought that made me wonder if young adult writing is for me. My writing talent isn't prodigious enough to write the next Great Gatsby, but I do think it's possible for me to write a truly entertaining book.

If J.K. Rowling is any indication, children can be an author's most devout fans. Did Hemingway have millions of parties held across the world when he released a new book?

So it probably sounds dorky, but I'll be at my local bookstore at midnight tonight to receive my own copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Then I'm going home to devour it, hopefully with the same relish that 15 years ago I reserved for a particularly juicy Nancy Drew mystery or a brand new Babysitter's Club book. And maybe sometime I will find another author to whom I can call myself a devoted fan. And maybe one day girls will read my books and feel the same way.

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