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Posted August 21, 2008
Anything calling itself a parody faces some tough literary challenges. It must, of course, readily bring to mind the original work it seeks to spoof. It should be creative and entertaining in its own right, without depending too much on the reader's knowledge of the original. Finally, it needs to be something of an homage, and not just a silly mockery. In Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage: An Unauthorized Harry Potter Parody, author Valerie Estelle Frankel's flying vacuum cleaner clears these literary hurdles with room to spare. If there was a single example of homo sapiens on this planet who was not familiar with the Harry Potter series, he or she could still thoroughly enjoy this book (assuming he or she had a solid command of the subtleties of the English language and a strong sense of humor. Academic, really, since this individual does not exist). Frankel skillfully draws upon many sources to create a story which keeps the reader on his toes, frantically trying to keep track of the book's myriad characters, details and action sequences. In other words, it's not that much different than the original. Her writing style brings to mind a sort of hybrid between J.R.R. Tolkien and Woody Allen, only with fewer references to Kierkegaard. While it would be overwhelming to try and summarize the plot, Henry Potty and the Deathly Paper Shortage is great fun to read, not least because of Frankel's well-crafted prose. The author clearly takes pleasure in making words and phrases do more than their basic job, and knows where and when to insert puns without their becoming the sole points of humor. Thus, the reader is spared page after page of needles punishment. Very entertaining, and highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.