It's been a fortnight since I completed the latest in the Harry Potter chronicles and I feel neither satisfied nor disappointed. As the story progresses it seems as if Rowling's descriptions of the wizarding world are becoming very general and vague. In addition, it appears that both Harry's personal life and the "War on Voldemort," are becoming rushed and indistinct.
In this particular book there was a forced attempt to tie up loose ends and to create new suspense with a thrilling climax. This is not to say the book wasn't entertaining. The continuing development of the teenagers and their differing interpretations of the world around them are always entertaining. Also, it's always nice to hear about former characters and how they wound up. However, in a weak analogy this book would be the non-scenic bridge connecting its two ends; that is, it's a necessary architectural structure, but not an altogether exciting one.
The last chapters of book five left me looking forward to pure adventure, mischief, and suspense but I felt let down; this was a very mediocre story with a poorly driven plotline at best. It was OK but it left room for improvement in the finale, which will wind up better than book six. In conclusion, this was a book whose sole purpose was to get the ball rolling for the seventh and final tale in the Harry Potter saga.
--- Peter Terilli (age 16)
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The memory of the first time I soloed overnight with my first child is a blur of raw emotion. It was fear mostly, mixed with frustration and patches of anger. The house fell apart, and I barely got us fed and our two butts wiped.
By the time I tried it with two kids, I had some skills, and less fear. I had realized that children aren't easily breakable, and that a bit of crying never hurt anybody. Still, two nights and I needed a vacation.
Last week, I spent four full days and nights with my three children while my wife was away, and you know what? I'm pretty good at it now. You use your time wisely, rest when you can, press the eldest into service... the days pass quickly, and the train wrecks seem few and mild.
And yet... I got nothing else done. I had to take the entire time off from work, and spent not a minute on hobbies. And after four days, I needed relief.
How do single parents function at all? Parenting isn't a part-time gig, it's relentless. And with a job, too? Personally, I need space for my self to breathe; without it, I'm sad and angry. All of us fortunate enough to be part of a parenting team should spend some time soloing. I don't know what our society can do to help single parents, but if we developed a stronger empathy for their situation, it could only be a good start.
--- Adam A. Wilcox