No Book Is Perfect (Or, the Harry Potter Problem)7:00 AM
Buckle up, kids, because things are going down today.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, just so we're all clear: I don't like Harry Potter. I've read all of them, and I just...don't. I don't hate it with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, I don't wish Harry Potter didn't exist, I don't think people who like Harry Potter are stupid or stuck-up or whatever I could say. It's just not my thing.
|If you didn't think I would use gifs from the HP movies for this post, you were very wrong.|
(Note: Harry Potter is not the only example of this, and I'm not taking the time to bash Harry Potter fans exclusively or something. This is just the most popular example I can think of, that most if not all of you would recognize.)
There's this thing in the bookish community, an almost unspoken thing, that makes Harry Potter into some kind of weird little book god. Everyone loves Harry Potter. Everyone has alllll the feels over Harry Potter, everyone has made Harry Potter their life, everyone loves to fangirl over it. Harry Potter is the ultimate book. The best book. The best series of all time. Maybe people don't mean to give off that feel, but they kinda do.
When I briefly confessed to not liking Harry Potter at a writer's group meeting, I received shocked glares and one "how could you not???"
One of the last times I mentioned disliking Harry Potter in more detail here on the blog, I got a whole bunch of comments talking about how people were sad that I didn't like it, or sad that I'd missed out on that part of my childhood, like the fact that I hadn't read Harry Potter was some kind of disappointing thing I'd been missing out on for a while. We do this with other books, too.
Again: I don't care if you like Harry Potter or not. I don't care if a lot of people love Harry Potter or not. The issue I have is this culture we create around certain books, the attitude that said book/movie/show is absolutely perfect in every way and a part of an educated life and if you don't like it/having read it, you're either missing out or an absolute idiot. These things can do no wrong.
Here's the deal, in my humble ranting opinion: No book is perfect. No author is perfect. No book is perfect or universal. Lots of people may like it, but it's not some kind of standard.
Different books mean different things to different people, and that's okay. I don't like Harry Potter, but lots of people thought it was incredibly deep and get a lot out of it. That's okay. I love The Great Gatsby with all my heart and soul. Some people thought it was lame. That's okay. Actually, that's normal. Books weren't meant to be flawless and appeal to everyone all the time and mean something to everyone who reads them; a book created for that would just be boring and/or dumb in itself. Maybe it wouldn't even exist, because that's kind of impossible.
Love the books you love. Take everything you want out of them. Fangirl about them. Share them with your friends. Don't be ashamed to love a book. Don't be ashamed to dislike a book, either. You don't need to feel like you have to apologize for not loving a book everyone else loves, because that's normal.