Jackie Wilson Asheeke
Having more time inside these days, I have been a readin’ fool. One of the books I jumped on was The Icabog, by JK Rowling. This soon to be classic for generations to come was originally published on November 10, 2020. For the billionaire author of the Harry Potter series of books, the writing skills of the great Ms Rowling are never better in this new book. It was released online in parts over the past year, but the complete text just came out. I couldn’t stand the piecemeal thing, so I waited patiently for the real deal.
Is The Icabog written for young adults and perky smart younger kids? Yes. Will adults who loved the Harry Potter series and who have a young heart enjoy it? Yes.
I enjoyed the audible version of the story, narrated by British actor and commentator, Stephen Fry. His voice brought the characters alive. Even his falsetto when doing the female characters was not annoying; I laughed.
Rowling’s story is fantastic. As an adult reader and Harry Potter addict (I read it word for word with my son back in the day when each volume came onto the market), the story flowed in that same descriptive way. Her main ‘hero’ characters are young teens. Though many children will be reading the book, Rowling doesn’t shy away from murder, corruption on a nationwide scale, wrongful imprisonment, lies, and abuse. She weaves these negative of her ‘bad guy’ characters into a fairy tale. The story is very ‘once upon a time’ like. Nevertheless, I listened to it nonstop while preparing the turkey on Thanksgiving eve and during the early morning of the next day.
I chose to interpret this book like the Lewis Carroll classics of Alice in Wonderland (1865) or Through the Looking Glass (1871) that were ostensibly children’s stories, but between the lines a treatise on the craziness in politics and politicians of that time.
I look at King ‘Fred’ and his evil councilors in The Icabog as an allegory for those in power who abdicate their duties to the people by being self-absorbed and/or corrupt. They choose to be blind to their responsibilities to the people and yet, they ARE responsible for the destruction of the country they are supposed to be leading.
To me, on a deeper level, this book says something about sheep people who have a crazed leader that scares them and yet they are silent and watch him burn the world down around their ears. It speaks to the many who know crazy when they see it, and yet they remain silent for the sake of protecting their own hides. Or their silence in the wake of the suffering of others is because they are making obscene profits. I think Trump, his far-right wing crazy crew, and the 74 million people who voted for him are echoed in The Icabog. But – that’s just a me thing. I remind myself that this is probably an innocent book with perhaps no current day political underpinnings. JK Rowling may not have followed in the political innuendo footsteps of Lewis Carroll.
The Icabog captivated my imagination and gave me complete entertainment in storytelling. It will capture your fairytale side too! Get it for your kids but enjoy it yourself.