Sunday, September 30, 2012

JK Rowling: is she the guardian of our children's minds?

Will JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy mean parents turn their backs on Harry Potter? asks Lorna Bradbury.

JK Rowling

You might have thought from the initial shocked reactions to JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy as it was published around the world yesterday that this 500-page fictional cry of despair was the eighth volume in the Harry Potter series.
But in case anyone needs reminding, this book is not aimed at children. The Casual Vacancy clearly echoes many of the themes of Harry Potter; as Rowling has put it in interviews this week, as a writer she’s concerned with mortality and morality. And it most obviously comes to life when its focus shifts to the teenagers who are coming of age in the godforsaken town of Pagford, battling their own demons of a kind rather more prosaic than Lord Voldemort.
But it’s clearly absurd – and not a little misogynistic – to view Rowling as some kind of benevolent aunt, and someone whose job it is to protect and to nurture our children. And it is something she has roundly rejected, declaring: “There is no part of me that feels that I represented myself as your children’s babysitter or their teacher.”
And quite right. Why shouldn’t a children’s writer, even one as successful and as generation-defining as JK Rowling, be permitted to write for another audience? Roald Dahl’s zany children’s stories are celebrated, untainted by the suggestion that his much darker adult work will damage children’s health, should they get their hands on it. Anthony Horowitz is as famous for his screenplays for Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders as he is for his two series of teenage thrillers, Power of Five and Alex Rider. And he has written novels for much younger children too. 

Full story here.

Also in The Telegraph:

1.The Casual Vacancy is just like Harry Potter - 

2.'The Casual Vacancy' breaks Harry Potter's spell - In 'The Casual Vacancy', JK Rowling bewilders her fans with an uneven, often harrowing book, says Allison Pearson

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