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Hermione Granger Saves the World: Essays on…

Hermione Granger Saves the World: Essays on the Feminist Heroine of…

by Christopher E. Bell

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I love the diversity of the papers in this collection. I'm absolutely adoring them! They make me reconsider my thoughts on characters and aspects of books and to look more deeply at them. They're kinda forcing me to be a more active reader and less passive.

For instance, with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when Hermoine is found petrified holding a piece of paper torn from a book in her hand. Since reading the HGStW, all I can think is:

Hermoine tore up a book? Really? You REALLY expect me to believe that Hermoine would EVER deface a book? Let alone one she probably got from the special stacks?!?!
She was conducting research; why would someone as bright as Hermoine not have note paper when conducting research?
Also, why would she need to write down a single word ("pipes")? There was little reason to believe she wouldn't make it back to see Harry or Ron - she had made it thus far without harm. The only excuse is that it was a convenient plot device (which I hate...).

Now, none of that is mentioned in the book HGStW, however, simply the juxtaposition of the writer talking about the scene where she is found petrified and commentary on her reverence of books and scholarship made me think of these things which, quite frankly, should have been obvious to me years ago, had I not been so caught up in the story itself.

One problem I do have though, is that the book has (most likely) been edited since it's presented as "Edited by Christopher E. Bell" right on the cover. The amount of spelling errors, word choice errors, and syntax errors is far too high for any work, let alone a scholarly one like this. Berents' article was the worst offender. After seeing the word "chose" instead of "choose" for the third time, I just start questioning the author's intelligence ("...this does not mean girls in conflict can always chose...", "found that young girls would chose 'marriage'"). She also incorrectly quoted one of the most famous (and controversial) lines from the Harry Potter series (she quotes "Not my daughter, you bitch" as "Not my children you bitch!" - screwing up the words as well as proper punctuation) without any indication that she re-worked the quote to serve her own purposes (if that was indeed the case). She also fails to cite the quote which is a BIG NO-NO!!!. ( )
  benuathanasia | Feb 27, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A collection of 11 essays that focus on Hermione Granger as a feminist, the "real" hero of the Harry Potter books, and in one case, the "real" Chosen One. As other reviewers have mentioned, reading this book in one sitting is a bad idea. All of the authors have the same limited source material - the 7 Harry Potter books- and the essays are highly repetitive. One essay: Unstoppable Force: Maternal Power and Feminism, which described and compared ALL the mothers in the series - plus Hermione as mother- was the best essay in the book. I thought the essay that compared Hermione's situation during the wizarding war to that of girls conscripted to fight as soldiers against their will was really stretching to make it's point. I found the one essay that discussed not book Hermione, not film Hermione, but "film Hermione as portrayed by actress Emma Watson" to be somewhat creepy. ( )
  VioletBramble | Jan 7, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book provides an interesting and in-depth look at one of the characters from the Harry Potter series. The intro was pretty good, some of the essays were better than others. All in all a fun read. I would recommend that you read them as individual articles and not as a quick read. Some of the content overlaps, and there is some repetition between articles. Great read for fans of Hermione, the essays really show how she is the true hero of the series. ( )
  kkunker | Nov 11, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Very interesting essays on the idea of Hermione as a feminist icon. I particularly enjoyed the essays that dealt with speech and the power of magical words, and the last essay that talked about how Hermione, not Harry, was the real "Chosen One".

I hope this was an advanced reader's copy because I noticed a lot of grammatical and factual errors in some of the essays, but overall I was impressed by the variety of topics introduced, and the ideas each author brought to the collection.

Makes me love Hermione even more! ( )
  kaylaraeintheway | Nov 6, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This collection purports to present a multi-faceted Third-Wave/post-feminist look at the character of Hermione Granger: both the book version and the film version.

I found the introduction by Christopher Bell interesting and strong, so don't skip it! He addresses the various ways that feminism has and can be defined, which was an important foundational point.

I grew less enamored with the essays as I went along, and that's not necessarily because they were arranged with the stronger ones first. There is just (of necessity, granted) so much overlap in the observations. A single character appearing in seven books and their corresponding movies is quite a narrow field compared with the intellectual real estate spanned by most essay collections. While each did clearly stake a separate claim to examining either a particular aspect of Hermione's character or assessing her role through the lens of a specific tenet of feminism, which is good, they do inevitably reference the same scenes-- and the same authors-- again and again.

This experience is partially my own fault, of course. I was trying to read straight through the book in order to write a review. If I had simply picked it up to read, I would have chosen essays based on how interesting they sounded, without perceiving a deadline associated with them, and would likely not have been frustrated by the overlap.

The copy I received does not appear to be an early-reviewer copy specifically, but still there were editing errors that I also found off-putting. Just throwing that out there :)

While a weakness in the collections *as a collection* is that They All Talk About Hermione Granger, it's a true strength of the essays *individually* that They All Talk About Hermione Granger. I'll say it: reading feminist theory is usually tedious, but reading this book was fun-- a lot more fun than a lot of other ways that one can be introduced to the subject matter. It's also more concrete-- 'Hermione interacting this way with Harry is what ______ means when she says ______,' for instance.

I think this is an interesting collection that can serve as both a (less-heavy-handed-than-most) introduction to feminism, and a lovely reflection on our favorite brainy, bossy, brave, Muggle-born resident of Gryffindor.
2 vote theresearcher | Oct 17, 2013 |
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