The Paris Review

Harry Potter and the Secret Gay Love Story

In our new monthly column, YA of Yore, Frankie Thomas takes a second look at the books that defined a generation.

Joseph Christian Leyendecker, Man Reading Book, 1914

My micro-generation—that is, the subset of millennials who were born in the second term of the Reagan administration and graduated face first into the Great Recession, and of which the most famous member is probably Mark Zuckerberg—has very little to brag about, so you can hardly blame us for our possessive attachment to Harry Potter. Harry Potter is to us what the Beatles were to our baby boomer parents. To say that we “grew up along with Harry” is far too corny to convey the actual experience of being the world’s first children ever to read those books. I remember attending a classmate’s twelfth birthday party in 1998, thrusting into her hands a gift-wrapped copy of (at the time the only Harry Potter book available in the United States), and informing her with something like personal pride, “This book has been on the best-seller list for !” It would probably still be there today if the hadn’t, shortly thereafter, created a separate best-seller list for children’s books on the grounds

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