Annoyed at the overwhelming media hype surrounding the publication of the fourth book I wrote the following (also meant to be a parody of the then-popular-and-controversial Dear America books):
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
The Journal of Peter Gordon
June 17 This summer is going to be the best one ever! First I’m going to this totally cool basketball day camp with my best friend, Michael. Then on the 4th of July, after the fireworks, my family’s going to the beach for the rest of the summer. Michael’s family goes too and we spend every day together with our boogie boards.
June 26 Camp started today. The basketball is awesome!
June 27 We’ve got to do a skit for the last day of camp. Everyone else wanted to do Harry Potter except me. I suggested a million other ideas like making fun of the camp or Pokemon. But no, they all wanted to do Harry Potter and Michael told me later I was being really stupid and embarrassed him.
Jeez. I’ve read all the books of course. I can’t stand them, but since Michael and everyone else loves them I pretend I like them too. But if you want to know the truth Hogwarts sounds horrible to me. As for Quidditch, I like games that you can imagine in real life, you know, like basketball. And the last book with its dementors gave me nightmares for months.
June 28 I’m Voldemort in the skit. At least I don’t have too many speaking lines.
July 3. Today was the last day of camp. We did our skit and everyone loved it. Of course they would because the whole world except me loves Harry Potter.
July 4 I’m back home, but no one wants to do anything except sit around and reread all the stupid Harry Potter books. I’m not sure when we are ever going to make it to the beach.
July 6 Michael wants to go to the bookstore Friday at midnight to get the new Harry Potter book. He figures it is going to be an historic occasion. All I know about the new book is it is really, really long. I sure hope the dementors aren’t in it.
July 8 We went really early. Michael wore his Harry Potter costume and made me wear my Voldermort costume. It was hot and noisy, but Michael was thrilled because we were first in line. When the store opened we got the first two books and all these television cameras in our faces. I kind of freaked out which didn’t make Michael too happy. He told them we were going to have a contest to see who finished it first.
I don’t want a contest with Michael. Not with this book anyway. It weighs a ton, will take all summer and is probably full of dementors.
July 9 On the ride to the beach Michael started reading the book in the car, but I get car sick so looked out the window instead. Dad said I could listen to the book tape, but Michael said that would be cheating. I’ll start it tomorrow. Michael’s a pretty slow reader. I am faster.
My dad sort of felt sorry for me and started reading it to me last night. But he quit after the first chapter and told me to finish it on my own. “You have to read three books for school over the summer anyway. This can be one of them.” Is he kidding? 734 pages?
July 10 He’s not kidding. He made me figure out how many days there were for the rest of the summer and how many pages I needed to read each day to get it done.
July 14 I got invited for a sleepover, but couldn’t go because I didn’t do any reading for a couple of days so Dad said I had to stay home and catch up instead. At least there aren’t any dementors — yet.
July 20 I’m so tired of wizards. I want to read about basketball not quidditch.. 680 pages to go.
July 30 620 pages to go.
August 2 540 pages to go.
August 5 440 pages to go.
August 12 340 pages to go. I hate Harry Potter.
August 30 I got a bit worried about those dementors showing up so stopped reading at page 420. But no one knows. Especially not Dad.
September 11 Dad took away my basketball. He figured out that I hadn’t been reading so now I’m grounded till I’m done with it and the other two books I have to read for school. I’m gonna to die.
September 13 School starts in a couple of hours, but I’m done. At least there weren’t any dementors. I can sleep and play basketball again.
September 14 Yesterday my new teacher told us that our first unit of the year is going to be an author study of J.K. Rowling. Do you think they know Harry Potter in Mexico?
Peter ran away to Mexico where Harry Potter was indeed well-known, but only in Spanish which Peter couldn’t read. Shortly thereafter his rueful father tracked him down and then stayed with him when he refused to return to the United States. While playing for the national basketball team he met his American wife, a practitioner of Wicca, and they led a long and happy life. Shortly before his death he read the last three Harry Potter books and left them, along with this journal and his basketball, to his grandchildren.
The Harry Potter books are the most popular books in the world today. All the media say this, so it is true. There has never been another series like it. Ever. The author, J.K. Rowling, was very, very poor , but now she is very, very rich. There may be a few places in the world where Harry isn’t enjoyed, but they are never mentioned in the media so there is no information about them.
Monica Edinger, a veteran fourth grade teacher and speedy reader, read the fourth Harry Potter book within forty-eight hours of purchasing it. She has read the previous books several times and enjoys discussing them with children and adults alike. She commented, “I’ve always loved fantasy books and was thrilled to see these books take off. However, I’ve also had to help children whose taste ran to other sorts of books not feel they had to read them. The hype and length of the latest book was quite extraordinary and I wondered how such kids would cope.” Monica Edinger is also the author of several books and articles on teaching history and literature.