'Barry Trotter' sequel falls flat

  November 4, 2003 at 5:38 PM ET
  grae     Wizard News (via The Tartan)

First there was Barry Trotter and the Unauthorized Parodyopens in new window, which - you guessed it - parodied the Harry Potter novels. Now, just in time for Christmas, we have the aptly named Barry Trotter and the Unnecessary Sequel : The Book Nobody Has Been Waiting Foropens in new window - and after reading The Tartan's reviewopens in new window, you may understand exactly why nobody has been waiting for Michael Gerber's latest book.

In this book, Barry Trotter is a 38-year-old wizard. He is married to Ermine and has a son and a daughter. Son Nigel’s upcoming start at Hogwash brings everyone back to the school. The first death there sets the tone for the rest of the book.

Dorco Malfeasance, the Headmister of Hogwash, dies by explosion. This isn’t caused by magic — while making a flying entrance into the Hogwash dining hall, he collapses under his own weight after falling from a height. Barry, dining nearby, keeps eating, and is wholly unaffected, apart from being offered Dorco’s job.

This doesn’t even make the list of the top ten worst moments in the book. Byron, one of Nigel’s classmates, introduces himself to Nigel by saying, "I’ve had sex with my sister, and tasted of human flesh."

When Barry runs into Colin Creepy at the Hogwash reunion, Colin brings up the time that they were caning other students together in the Headmister’s office. Barry and Ermine bring up their extensive sexual histories several times, often in front of Nigel.

The book may be bad, but there are some bright spots. Nigel’s character is the most developed and mature, despite being an 11-year-old. Though he suffers from some of the maladies common to all the characters, such as murderous tendencies (helping to kill every player on the Silverfish Quiddit team and killing Byron by putting earwigs in his head that eat his brain), he is capable of shame, and acts his age.

He also plays Accountants and Attorneys — the fantasy kid’s version of Dungeons and Dragons.

Gerber’s vision of students weaned on Trotter stories coming to Hogwash and imagining themselves to be Barry, Ermine, or Lon hits the mark as well. Searching the Internet for fan fictions proves that this isn’t uncommon.

Unfortunately, flashes of humor and insight like this are rare. More often, its jokes are about combing pubic hair, morning-after spells, and vibrating books used for sexual pleasure. Keep your £6.99, and stay far away from Barry Trotter and the Unnecessary Sequel.


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