Harry Potter, Still Recruiting: An Inner Look at the Harry Potter Fandom
Valerie Estelle Frankel
Rating: 5 wands (of five)
Getting to review Valerie Frankel’s “Harry Potter, Still Recruiting: An Inner Look at the Harry Potter Fandom” was an absolute treat for me. I’ve been a huge HP fan for a very long time. But my involvement in any fandom has taken a seat on the back burner since the birth of my first child.
Reviewing “Harry Potter, Still Recruiting: An Inner Look at the Harry Potter Fandom” gave me a chance to see it through a fresh set of eyes.
Nothing could have prepared me for this book or the emotions it was going to bring with it.
A quick look through the table of contents tells you that this was a book that was taken seriously. Reading it you quickly learn that this was a book that was taken seriously by a fan and not just an author cashing in on a franchise.
That is what makes this book different.
Interviewing Cornelia Remi, the author of the Harry Potter bibliography Valerie Frankel calls it the “the best resource around”(P.109) and “a godsend for scholars.” (P.110)
If those statements are to ring true [and I believe they do] then it’s also fair to say that Valerie Frankel’s book “ Harry Potter, Still Recruiting: An Inner Look at the Harry Potter Fandom”is the go to model for writing about a fandom. It is also the [only] book for understanding [or finding your way in] the fandom.
If you’re looking for a light and fluffy [i.e mindless] read, this book is not it.
Harry Potter, Still Recruiting: An Inner Look at the Harry Potter Fandom is a book full of heart and soul. It captures all those feelings that Harry Potter brings out in all of us and literally brought tears to my eyes as I remembered just how much this fandom means to me. It showed me how much I miss it, not having/making as much time for the magic of Harry and Hogwarts.
Divided into three sections, 1: A Deeper Look at the Fandom 2: The Conferences [Complete with colour photographs] and 3: Fan Interviews.
It quite literally could be a text book used at Hogwarts, one that Ron and Harry might actually even read!
Section 1 begins with a look at our world in comparison to Harry’s.
Pointing out the lack of technology mentioned in both Harry’s world as well as the Muggle. Questioning what it is that draws us in from a world that can’t seem to live with out it’s technology.
We also take a look at fanfiction, Quidditch! and Parodies.
The discussion on parodies surprised me. Not because it was included, but because I found myself curious about it.
Admittedly, I wasn’t really open to the idea of it before.
I had a similar thing with fanfiction, until an idea struck and i had to write it down. Then i got fanfiction and a lot more respect for those that write it.
Activism and social issues, [HPA] feminism and gender roles are also discussed through a comparison of Hermione and Twilight’s Bella Swan.
[Note: Fellow Twilight haters need not fear, Twilight is minimal and a very easy section to get through. There’s even something of a reward for reading it!]
The most interesting part of the first section however was the debate on Interpretative Authority, J.K. Rowling and her fans.
Section 2 is a nice view into the conferences, especially for those of us too far away or with out the means to go.
Section 3: The Fans
An absolutely mind blowing section.
You get the usual suspects HPA members, Etsy store owners and cosplayers.
Saving some of the best for last: college lectures on the Potterverse, a camp version of Hogwarts Academy, fan trips and more.
The author wraps her work up nicely with end notes, a bibliography, appendices listing every conference, a glossary, and a list of other titles of interest both Harry Potter and otherwise.
Whether you are looking for an offline resource on all things Harry Potter to have with you, a book to help a friend into the fandom or maybe you’re new to the world of Harry Potter and looking for something of a guide, this is the book for that.
5 wands and then some. I can not recommend this book enough. You will not be disappointed.
Photo property of Valerie Frankel.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.