DWJ in Israeli newspaper

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Fri Feb 13 13:11:09 EST 2004

On Fri, 13 Feb 2004 12:21:54 -0000 (GMT), Ika wrote:

>And I got it, but I only joined the list a couple of days ago and am
>suffering from the conviction that whatever I say will have been said here
>eighty zillion times already: but I was v interested to see the article &
>very grateful for the translation.

Welcome to the list!  Don't worry about saying something that's already been
gone over a million times; even the most familiar comment can spark a new
and different discussion.  Plus we are extremely nice people here, except
for Minnow, who bites.  :)

I agree with what you said here, by the way:

> Magic and fire and blood and
>dark castles are all very well, of course, but it's DWJ's emotional
>complexity and precision - her unpredictable, but always truthful, takes
>on situations and relationships (her "exacting wisdom"?) - that make her
>the writer that she is. She's actually provided a whole emotional
>vocabulary and framework for experiences that aren't often part of
>mainstream narrative. I guess I wish *that* framework was the virus that
>was sweeping the world, to which all other children's fantasy was

So do I.  In some ways the Harry Potter books are a lot safer for the reader
than DWJ's.  For example, there's the relationship between child and adult
that's so important to YA fiction--removing the adult figures so the child
will have to do things alone.  With Harry Potter, he's never really betrayed
by the adults in his life; his caretakers are failures, but they're so awful
that the reader expects them to behave the way they do.  And when someone
like Dumbledore lets Harry down, he later admits he was wrong and
apologizes.  In DWJ you have parents who ought to take care of their
children, but don't, and there's no comforting feeling that they are
monsters; they're just like people you know.  There's no emotional distance
to let you fool yourself into thinking "this could never happen to me."  And
that's a little scary for some readers (probably most readers, says the
Cynicism Monkey on my shoulder).

>PS: Hello, everybody. I'm excited to be here. Is there an initiation I
>have to undergo or anything? ;)

I think we lost the manual, and we've pretty much given up the Worship of
Monigan after all the nasty side-effects.  So it's really just that first
post now.  Not much as baptisms of fire go, I know.  If you really want an
initiation, we could probably think of something....

Melissa Proffitt

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