Saturday, July 24, 2010

Clever but Tedious

Barry Trotter and the Unauthorized Parody by Michael Gerber (Fireside, 2002, 176pp.)

In this satirized version of the Harry Potter series, Barry Trotter and friends try to stop Hollywood from making a film based on his life for fear that Hogwash School will be overrun by millions of rabid fans. To do so, they hatch a plan to kidnap the author of the Barry Trotter series, J.G. Rollins, who first interviewed and documented Trotter’s life adventures, and whom they assume controls the rights to the movie as well as the books. They later discover that she is being held in captivity by her bloodsucking publishers, who have her chained to a typewriter and are determined to milk their cash-cow for all she’s worth. For the most part, Barry Trotter is a clever little book that molds the real series’ phenomenal success into a story of the battle between good and evil. Harry Potter becomes—you guessed it—“Barry Trotter.” Dementors are replaced with “Marketors,” evil, soul-sucking henchmen of the publishing companies, and Voldemort’s counterpart, the insidious Valumart, turns out to be in cahoots with the publishers. But being what it is (a parody), readers who expect to be provided with more than few a comical moments will be disappointed. Although Gerber definitely knows how to cleverly distort the Potter series’ setting and plot elements to his advantage, this proves to be the sole novelty of the piece. The plot is plodding, and laughs, unfortunately, are few and far between, making this book more than a little tedious to finish. Recommended for Ages 16-Up for language and suggestive situations.

Click on the cover for image source.

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