Defending the Lightning Thief


Monica Edinger at Educating Alice posted about the new Percy Jackson movie a couple of days ago, and quoted Tom Long’s review, which gave the movie a D+. She says she may wait for the DVD, and I’m pretty much with her on this.

Having said that, I really do enjoy the books. they are a compelling read and the kids I see enjoy them, even the reluctant readers–particularly the kids with ADD, who seem to identify most.

Long compares Percy Jackson unfavorably with Harry Potter. I want to defend Percy, at least a bit. At least defend the books . . . I haven’t seen the movie.

I’ve been around the block a couple of times before, and I remember the critical essays saying that Potter wasn’t in the same league as the creations of Tolkien and C. S. Lewis . . . and (though it was before my time), I know Tolkien turned up his nose at The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. If it’s new, there will be those who won’t like it.

Now, The Lightning Thief is not a character-driven book by any means, but neither is Harry Potter. The Percy Jackson books are perfect for the 10-14 year old mostly male demographic; head-on action-adventure with an appealing young protagonist facing immense odds. Like Harry Potter, there is father-hunger, and ambivalence as well.

Potter has a higher cool-stuff-per-page ratio than Jackson, but they are cousins and both good reads.


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