Upon finishing J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," 10-year-old Ben C. listlessly moped around his house for three days. He picked at his food and was short-tempered with his sister. His alarmed mother took his temperature, inquired about problems with friends and probed into the nature of his malady. All Ben could say was that he was feeling a "deep sense of loss." Across town, Francis M. drifted through two days in a daze, taking little interest in her usual activities.I have been afflicted by PLM and APLT enough number of times to think I would have acquired immunity against PPS. But that was not the case. I suffered from PPS for a few days after reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Fortuantely I found that there were enough other people around me in the office with the same affliction to hold regular "PPS Anonymous" meetings around the pantry table. But life had to go on. Without knowing about the cure suggested by Dr. Bookjoy quite a few of us treated our symptoms with regular visits to the bookstores and libraries. Some chose to re-read the Potter series all over again but eventually took the cure.
Doctors at St. Mungos Hospital are asserting that Ben and Francis are two of the earliest cases of "Post Potter Syndrome." All indications are that PPS will become a full-blown epidemic by late August. Your child may be at risk for catching Post Potter Syndrome if July 16 was circled in the family calendar, you find yourself commanding your child to, "Turn off your light NOW and go to sleep," and your child takes to carrying the seven-pound book with him/her at all times.
Dr. Glenn M. Bookjoy, a researcher of the history of literary maladies, said that the symptoms of PPS are severe but they typically only last for three to seven days. "Although PPS is a modern disease, it falls under the broad category of Acute Post Literary Trauma (APLT) or the less severe Post Literary Malaise (PLM). Historically, children have suffered similar effects after reading classics such as J.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Hobbit,' and 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy; C.S. Lewis' 'The Chronicles of Narnia'; and the 'Little House' series by Laura Ingalls Wilder," commented Dr. Bookjoy.
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Post Literary Malaise can happen after the end of any good book. The acute version (as in PPS) occurs when an author kills off a beloved character or when a gripping book series comes to an end.
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If your child has come down with Post Potter Syndrome, doctors recommend giving him or her several doses of new books immediately. "Once you have caught Acute Post Literary Trauma, be it the classic version or a strain such as PPS, you will be afflicted forever," warned Dr. Bookjoy. "The good news is that the symptoms can be easily managed with frequent trips to the public library and local bookstores."
We are okay now. But all of us fear of a relapse in another two years.
Read my review of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. And here's an earlier post about the sixth Potter book here.
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