From Homer to Harry Potter

August 22, 2007 at 4:56 pm (Books)

Authors: Matthew Dickerson & David O’Hara

I initially picked this book up because it sounded like an interesting read about myth and fantasy literature, and for once, a book on how it is helpful, not a tool of Satan.

The book turned out to vacillate between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 stars, depending on the section or paragraph I was reading. I probably would not recommend it for what the book claims on the back it is going to do: “explore the influence and importance of…work of “Faerie” on our literary culture.” While the authors do a decent job of overviewing some important works of myth and fantasy, as the title suggests, from “Homer to Harry Potter,” they could have done with a little less theologizing and a little more philosophizing.

Unfortunately, because the authors are Christian, they desperately wanted to, along with summarize, theologically analyze every fantastical work they mentioned and pick out how this or that lines up with some great truth from the Bible (or occasionally, doesn’t). While there is certainly value to recognizing the moral truth in story, at times it became tiring, especially later on in the book when we passed Tolkien’s era and every modern work was compared to his “Christian worldview” that apparently bubbles forth in his literature.

On the upside, wedged between the, at times, almost preaching, there are some good thoughts on myth, fairy tale, and fantasy as literature throughout time, and why it is valuable to humanity. The first two chapters, especially, are good, and there are other sections throughout that offered enough to keep me reading. Additionally, they supported why it is certainly not wrong for Christians to read the genre of “Faerie” (which is refreshing, after the frenzy of anti-Harry Potter mania on the part of Evangelicalism™).

If you can weed through the sermonizing, there are many pages of thoughtful material, but I am quite certain that there are other books out there that accomplish the same goal (perhaps even written by Christians) without the excess baggage.

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1 Comment

  1. jhaas said,

    i am so thankful you write.
    i wish friendly’s did have wireless.

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