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on November 20, 2009
This book is a very interesting and thought-provoking read. Written by English literature professor James W. Thomas, Ph.D. (of Seaver College/Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA), this book delves deeply into all of the literary devices used by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series of novels. By turns dry and droll, Thomas lays out in fascinating detail everything you ever wanted to know about foreshadowing, narrative misdirection, literary allusions, and narrative techniques. The book is divided into 7 main parts (one for each Potter novel in the series) and each of those parts is further subdivided into humourously-titled sections that cover anywhere from 3 to 7 chapters of the book being discussed.
There is an incredible amount of detail in this book; Thomas has obviously read and re-read all 7 novels many times, with the critical eye of the literature professor. He includes amusing asides in the form of acronyms: OT for overthink, when he feels he may be reading TOO much into a certain passage or event; and MMM, for Minor Miscellaneous Matters, usually used when he has a minor quibble with the narrative (for example, when he asks if readers are really supposed to believe that Harry and Ron "have never met Luna Lovegood until the train ride in Chapter 10 of Order of the Phoenix? She's never before drawn Harry's or Ron's attention for something she's said, done, or worn on her head?")
A highly recommended book for Harry Potter fans who have a literary turn of mind.
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Things I disliked about this book:
This book has numerous spelling and grammatical errors yet is written by a literature professor.
I was especially disappointed by the author's laziness in referring to Dumbledore as Dumby.
The author has a particular fondness for puns. This book is mostly the author pointing out puns and the possibility of puns.
I was hoping for a more in-depth analysis of the books considering the author teaches a course on the subject.
Most of the time it felt like the author was just trying to fill up space without actually putting any critical thought into his writing.

I like the conceptual idea behind this book of helping the devout Harry Potter reader find more enjoyment from the books upon subsequent readings. Hopefully I will find a better book out there that meets this need.
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