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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Last week, in a discussion on Facebook of whether Harry Potter is a feminist saga (prompted by this essay), author Bruce Coville shared some interesting thoughts about what defines a “boy book”:
It's not the gender, it's the energy. I've spent a couple of decades thinking about this, in no small part because of the reaction to MY TEACHER IS AN ALIEN. This is a book I wrote first person female, yet it is still considered a "boy's book." I cracked my brain over this for a long time, and in the end I came to the conclusion that it's about the "storytelling energy" of a story. . . .

The very best (and most successful) books partake equallly of male storytelling energy (action!) and female storytelling energy (relationship).

Jo Rowling merges them seamlessly.
Coville has been talking about that blend for years, which is why I feel comfortable quoting his Facebook comments.

I think gender roles are one of the areas in which Rowling’s execution actually undercuts the values on the surface of her books. But Coville is correct about the types of energy she’s combined in her story, whether or not those are intrinsically male and female.

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