Discussion and Link Up: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Chamber

Welcome to the second month of the Harry Potter re-read!  Each month I’ll be reading a book from the series, in order, until Harry Potter Book Night on February 4th.  This month’s discussion is a bit different from last month’s.  This time around, I’d like to discuss the impact of emotional abuse on children and if Harry is a realistic example of an abused child.

While reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, I began thinking about Harry’s behavior during his time with the Dursleys and how it compared to mine when I was growing up in an emotionally abusive home.  Like Harry, I remember doing everything I could after a certain age to be as invisible as possible.  I tried to disappear and I rarely ever had more than a couple close friends at a time.  Unlike Harry, I moved so many times that I stopped making friends and retreated into my world of books.  I never learned how to deal with bullies like Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, but there were times when I stood up for myself or someone else the way Harry does.  However, Harry has a remarkable sense of justice that very few kids his age have let alone children who have been neglected or abused.  He also never acts out in self-destructive or harmful ways.

Harry doesn’t seem to be nearly as damaged as I felt, and I’ve been wondering why that is.  Perhaps it’s because the Dursley’s aren’t his parents.  Knowing this, maybe Harry understood the way he was treated wasn’t normal, and he was just unlucky in the relatives department?  That’s a bit difficult to believe since he’s known nothing else, having been placed in their “care” when he was a baby.  Maybe there’s another reason I’m just not seeing?

I also can’t decide whether or not Harry suffers from a lack of self-esteem and confidence as most abused children do.  Perhaps he does, and that’s why he shies away from special attention?  Granted, the kind of attention he gets in Chamber of Secrets is more excessive than probably any kid would want to deal with, but he also shies away from the attention he gets for defeating Voldemort.  He doesn’t seem to have a problem with the attention he gets for being the youngest member of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, though.

I would love to know your thoughts on this subject, either in the comments or a separate post.  Also, share any of your Harry Potter-related posts in the link up.  I’ll feature at least one post each month, and if I decide to do a giveaway for Harry Potter Book Night, those that link up will get bonus points.  While you’re at it, check out the other posts such as this recipe for chocolate frogs from The Daily Mayo.

Chocolate Frog

 

Monday’s Minutes #35

  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
  • The Portable Dorothy Parker

 Uprooted Night Portable

Challenges:

S&S Bingo2update12

Total pages read for the week: 164

Total # of books for the year: 58.  The first week of the Fall semester is over, and I’m already so busy that the only reading I got done, besides studying and research, was listening to Uprooted during my commute.  Hopefully, things will get a little easier once I’m fully back into the swing of things.

Top Commenters: This week my Top Commenter was Shaina @ Shaina Reads.

What are you reading this week?

Review: Irona 700

Irona

  • Author: Dave Duncan
  • ISBN: 9781504002189
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Genre: Fantasy

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first Open Road Media book I didn’t care for.  When I started reading, I thought it would be yet another Dystopian novel and Irona would overthrow the empire somehow.  In a way, Irona believes this of herself as well, but that’s not what happens at all.  Perhaps that’s the point of the story; not everyone is capable or even wants to start a revolution.  The problem with that is it makes for a yawn of a story.

I was interested in how Irona began working within the system she had hated all her life, but I continually wondered where the story was going and why I should care.  By the 75% mark, I began to dislike Irona, and by 80%, I was thoroughly bored but determined to finish the book.  It wasn’t until I had only about 5% left that I finally found out where Irona fit in the grand scheme of things.  She is the hero of the story, just not in the way you would think, and getting there made the book seem much longer than it is (the paperback edition is 402 pages).  On top of that, the author uses rape as a signifier of true evilness, and I’m a firm believer that there are better ways to write evil without having to resort to sexual assault.  While the one rape scene wasn’t exactly disturbing to me, it may trigger others, and it certainly wasn’t necessary.

Until today, the lowest rating I’ve given to an Open Road Media book was three stars (The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson).  This one gets two stars.  It just didn’t have enough good storytelling for me to give it three.  If you enjoy epic Greek or Roman style settings or political stories, and you don’t take issue with sexual violence, maybe check Irona 700 out from the library and give it a chance.  I wouldn’t pay money for this book, though.

#COYER Scavenger Hunt #51: Read a book with a number in the title.

Review: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster

Lemoncholy

  • Author: Scott Wilbanks
  • ISBN: 9781492612469
  • Genre: Fiction

I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

For most of the story, I thought it was clever and well written.  Annie and Elsbeth are memorable and charming characters.  There are some Fantasy elements involved, including a magic door that allows anyone who knows how to use it to time travel.  There are also some Classic Literature elements such as Annie’s obsession with the Victorian Era.  To top it off, the “present” time of Annie’s life is during the 1990s.  I had a few moments of nostalgia with little details like the sound of the dial-up modem Annie used to connect to her AOL account.

However, sometimes the dialogue was difficult to understand and made me feel as if I had somehow missed important information.  Have you ever been thinking something and tell someone when you’re in the middle of your thoughts, and they give you a confused look because they weren’t privy to what was going on in your head?  That’s how some of the characters’ conversations felt to me.  It was as if the author already knew the characters inside and out but forgot to fill the reader in on some of the background.  The same thing happened with some of the later plot points.  I got the impression that the explanation for why some things occurred was obvious to the author, but he forgot that the reader wouldn’t know.

Despite the missing information, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster was an enjoyable light Summer read.  If you’re a fan of Victorian times or non-Science Fiction style time travel, and you want a book that doesn’t require a lot of mental energy, this book might be for you.

Thursday’s Things #8

1001 Things
Original Image: Viktor Hertz

The Joy Luck Club Read-Along

Joy

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan is one of those Classic books that technically isn’t a Classic since it was published in 1989.  However, it was on the list of suggested books for the Classics Club, so I’m assuming it counts.  I added it to my Classics Club list because it’s a book I always meant to read.  Despite it sitting on one bookshelf after another as I moved from place to place, I never got around to it.  That changes starting Monday, September 7th.  Since I’ve been told The Joy Luck Club is one of the essential books for diversifying one’s reading life, I’m inviting all of you to join me.

Below is the schedule.  As I’ve already said, we’re starting on September 7th.  We’ll be ending Friday, October 23rd, and each Saturday I’ll post a recap (with clearly marked spoilers for those who get a little behind).  We’ll be averaging 47 pages per week.  I’ll post a final review of the book on Saturday, October 24th.

  • Sep. 7th – 12th: Chapters “The Joy Luck Club” and “Scar”
  • Sep. 13th – 19th: Chapters “The Red Candle” and “The Moon Lady”
  • Sep. 20th – 26th” Chapters “Rules of the Game”, “The Voice from the Wall”, and “Half and Half”
  • Sep. 27th – Oct. 3rd: Chapters “Two Kinds” and “Rice Husband”
  • Oct. 4th – 10th: Chapters “Four Directions”, “Without the Wood”, and “Best Quality”
  • Oct. 11th – 17th: Chapters “Magpies” and “Waiting Between the Trees”
  • Oct. 18th – 23rd: Chapters “Double Face” and “A Pair of Tickets”

If you’d like to join in, sign up through the linky with your blog, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.  The sign up will close at the end of the 2nd week, Saturday, September 19th.

 

 

The Classics Club Spin: And the Winner Is…

classicsclub

The Classics Club Spin number is 5!  Below is my list of the twenty books I chose from my Classics Club List for this Spin.  I apparently tempted fate a little too much by mentioning I had deliberately put off reading The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. However, when I opened the digital copy I have I realized two things: It’s incomplete, and it’s an unreadable combination of scanned original pages and digitized text.

I couldn’t think of any other way of fairly picking another book from the list, so I asked the Boyfriend to choose a number between 1 and 20.  He said 19, which means I’m reading The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.  I’ve got until October 23rd to finish it, which shouldn’t be a problem.

I will be doing a read-along, but it won’t start until Monday, September 7th.  If you would like to join me, leave a comment.  I’ll make an official post with a link up next week.

  1. Albee, Edward: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  2. Dumas, Alexandre: The Count of Monte Cristo
  3. Remarque: All Quiet on the Western Front
  4. Smith, Betty: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  5. Boccaccio, Giovanni: The Decameron
  6. Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Secret Garden
  7. Proust, Marcel: Swann’s Way
  8. Carroll, Lewis: Alice in Wonderland
  9. Golding, William: Lord of the Flies
  10. Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine
  11. Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Scarlet Letter
  12. Heller, Joseph: Catch-22
  13. Hemingway, Ernest: A Farewell to Arms
  14. Cooper, James Fenimore: The Last of the Mohicans
  15. Crane, Stephen: Red Badge of Courage
  16. Hugo, Victor: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  17. de Saint-Exupery, Antoine: The Little Prince
  18. Defoe, Daniel: Moll Flanders
  19. Tan, Amy: The Joy Luck Club
  20. Swift, Jonathon: Gulliver’s Travels