Sometimes I wish I’d been an English major. Partly so I knew more about writing and partly so, when I say that I’m a big reader and people ask me if I’ve read [fill in the blank with a classic that everyone but me has read], I could say yes.
But I wasn’t. So while I love writing and reading and remember most of the English terms essential to my daily life, such as “gerund” and “participle,” I don’t know how to describe a certain type of writing.
I’ll get to that in a minute. (It will be the question I mentioned in my title, and no pressure, but I’m really counting on you all to answer it.)
Back in 1997, an unknown author published a little book called . . . [wait for it] . . . Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Remember when I mentioned not having read the books that everybody and their grandmother have read? Yeah . . . this would be one of them.
Much to my friend chelleybutton’s dismay. See, Chelley is a huge (HUGE!!) Harry Potter fan. And my lack of interest in her favorite book has been a point of slight contention between us for a while now.
She finally got me to read it, though – by giving me her copy of the book. (Don’t worry, Chelley, I know it’s just a loan!)
One night a few weeks ago, I’d finished my latest fluffy book, skimmed through my parenting magazines and didn’t feel like slogging through the serious Christian living book I’ve been nibbling on for months. So I picked up that colorful Harry Potter book and started reading.
Oh. My. Gosh. I loved it! I enjoyed fantasy books when I was younger, so this really was “my type” of book, even though I’d been protesting the exact opposite every time Chelley asked why I hadn’t read it yet. And it was so smart! And British. You know that automatically makes it better. I call it the Hugh Grant Effect.
I even found myself so absorbed in the story that one day at work, when our e-mail system temporarily crashed and I was inconvenienced trying to get a message to a co-worker in another part of the building, I actually found myself thinking, “I wish we had owls.”
Ha! I laughed so hard at myself and then, of course, told Chelley all about it. I knew she’d be thrilled that not only had I started reading her beloved book, but I was a teeny bit obsessed with it, too!
I finished it, and just in case someone else out there hasn’t read it yet either, I won’t give away anything about the ending. But I will say that I was surprised and realized I hadn’t given JK Rowling enough credit.
Chelley has loaned me copies of books 2-4 of the Harry Potter series, but I haven’t started the second book yet. I will, though. And while I’m pretty sure it won’t take me 13 years to get around to it, I told Chelley today that she may have a future fan in Annalyn. That kiddo loves picking the Harry Potter novels out of my three huge stacks of books and pretends to read them!
So here’s my question (were you wondering when I’d get around to that?): what do you call the kind of voice that Rowling uses in the book? That tone makes it clear that the story being told is a fantastical one, and it’s a little sardonic or amused. Like she knows what she’s telling us is ridiculous but it’s also wonderful, and she wants us to love it even if we’re laughing at it, too.
What is that?
One of my favorite fluffy writers, Kasey Michaels, writes a series about a female romance novelist whose main characters (a Regency heartthrob with a stuffy and semi-clueless butler-type sidekick) somehow come to life. The novelist realizes how crazy this is, but it’s happening anyway. And these silly (I know.) stories are told in the same type of tone that Harry Potter is.
So, what’s that called? Is there a technical term for it? Anyone? Bueller?
Feel free to mock me in the comments. Make fun of me for just now reading Harry Potter. Or wishing to be an English major. Or reading fluffy romance novels. Or admitting to reading fluffy romance novels.
Whatever. Just tell me if there’s a name for the type of voice or tone or SOMETHING that JK Rowling used to tell the Harry Potter story?!!