Beyond the wand : The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard – Tom Felton

Generally, I do not like autobiographical stories, and that mainly has to do with the fact that I am not a fan of people. I can enjoy someone’s art, their music, the way they act in a movie or a play, or something else along those lines. Their ‘work’ if you will. I can enjoy someone’s personality in interviews or lives or think someone is good-looking as much as the next person but it never goes much farther than a follow on social media. I might follow them because they take nice photos or because they have interesting things to say on a social-political level or sometimes it’s because I want to follow whatever else they support or come out with. But generally speaking, I am not a fan of the people themselves. I have only ever been a fan of One Direction and that was a one-off. I can go from really liking an author or liking certain films but I am not deeply invested in anyone’s life. To me, it’s a bit creepy. Even when I was a fan of One Direction I wouldn’t follow them in real life or wait after a show. It always disturbed me a bit and frankly, I always felt I had better things to do with my time. Anyway; If I see a film that I enjoy a lot, I might look up the actor or actress to see in whatever else he or she played in. I might consume other films of this person because they liked the project enough to play in it and I might like the film too. It broadens my horizons without doing much of the work. At the end of the day, the cast can make a movie and most of them put their names to things they enjoy. They do all the heavy lifting and the thinking about what they want to work on I lazily follow that.

So biographies, as I am not a fan of people I couldn’t care less about their lives. I mean this in the nicest way but I am not deeply invested in someone’s personal life. It’s hard for biographies to be valuable to people who aren’t massive fans of the writer. I mean I read the biography Me Me Me but I read that in a haze of the flu and I was nosy enough about her life at the time to buy it, Was the book valuable in any other sense? No, it was like reading a tabloid but it was approved by the person who was written about. Which summed up my review of her other book. It goes two ways as far as I have seen it’s either a collection of how amazing this person’s life is or how hard it has been. But it doesn’t add anything or bring value to my own life. Which is why I usually don’t read them. I don’t like tabloids, I think it’s a massive invasion of people’s privacy I think children and young adults especially are continuously exploited for clicks and likes by these tabloid workers and I do not want to contribute to any suffering they might face because of it. I know that biographies if not written by a famous person are at least approved (most of the time) but it feels very much the same and I don’t like that generally.

Back to the point, I saw beyond the wand somewhere online and I do not know where. At the time I wasn’t following Tom Felton anywhere. It might have been on TikTok though and I thought ‘Oh that might be interesting’ but didn’t think much of it. But for some unknown reason, it kept popping up in my mind. I decided to give it a go, but the book was ten points behind as I normally do not like books like this. Yet, here I am with a review.

The book in short
From the magical moments on set as Draco Malfoy to the challenges of growing up in the spotlight, get a backstage pass into Tom Felton’s life on and off the big screen in this #1 New York Times bestseller.

Tom Felton’s adolescence was anything but ordinary. His early rise to fame in beloved films like The Borrowers catapulted him into the limelight, but nothing could prepare him for what was to come after he landed the iconic role of the Draco Malfoy, the bleached blonde villain of the Harry Potter movies. For the next ten years, he was at the center of a huge pop culture phenomenon and yet, in between filming, he would go back to being a normal teenager trying to fit into a normal school.

Speaking with great candor and his signature humor, Tom shares his experience growing up as part of the wizarding world while also trying to navigate the muggle world. He tells stories from his early days in the business like his first acting gig where he was mistaken for fellow blonde child actor Macaulay Culkin and his Harry Potter audition where, in a very Draco-like move, he fudged how well he knew the books the series was based on (not at all). He reflects on his experiences working with cinematic greats such as Alan Rickman, Sir Michael Gambon, Dame Maggie Smith, and Ralph Fiennes (including that awkward Voldemort hug). And, perhaps most poignantly, he discusses the lasting relationships he made over that decade of filming, including with Emma Watson, who started out as a pesky nine-year-old whom he mocked for not knowing what a boom mic was but who soon grew into one of his dearest friends. Then, of course, there are the highs and lows of fame and navigating life after such a momentous and life-changing experience.

Tom Felton’s Beyond the Wand is an entertaining, funny, and poignant must-read for any Harry Potter fan. Prepare to meet a real-life wizard.
I found this information here.

What did I think about the book?
I thought it was a brilliant book, I honestly enjoyed it very much. I knew next to nothing about Tom Felton, I mean I liked him in Harry Potter, I enjoyed him in The Forgotten Battle (review can be read here). But I couldn’t have told you anything else about his life between the last Harry Potter film and the Forgotten Battle, or before or after or well during. I thought about it but I am blank. No clue if he did anything else or what his life was like. Still, I picked up this book and all of it was a surprise so that was good.  Sometimes you pick up a book without a good explanation. The idea of this book stayed with me so I had told myself if I see it somewhere and it’s a good price I’ll think about it then. This works wonders for me as a strategy as by the time I am in the bookstore I could have forgotten my interest in the book (this happened before with other books). In this case, not so much. Then weeks went by and I saw it exactly nowhere but as I said I wasn’t looking. Then I was in this bookstore in Germany to buy one of those reading pillows that I had wanted for a long time. But that’s another story. I had a quick look in the English book section as I do not read German (or not enough to understand more than children’s books). There it was suddenly, there were even two. This one and a shorter one (Why it was shorter, I do not know but its corners were bent so I didn’t investigate). Then there was this sale sign and I thought ‘Why not?’ which is why we are here today. I wasn’t looking for it, but my eye fell on it when it was put away in the bookcase. It caught my eye, it was faith if you will and here we are.

Here is the thing, I adored it I read the whole thing in a day. I laughed at certain points, I had tears in my eyes at other points. I never in a million years expected to like the book as much as I did. For me, a good book stays with you for a while, one that your mind keeps coming back to or you keep thinking about. This was that type of book for me. It just hit all the right notes. I enjoyed how he talked about his family and you could just feel the love he has for them. I am very family-orientated myself and I always adore it when people talk about the love they have for their families. As I said before I had no idea about anything that happened in his life but I found him so incredibly honest. I found his approach to mental health throughout the book so strong and written incredibly well. His message near the end about how life sometimes is really hard and how small decisions sometimes can feel like a lot felt quite validating. The stories did feel approachable and not like someone lecturing another about the hardships in their lives which can be a bit offputting sometimes. I liked reading about the entertainment industry and how he experienced working on the Potter films as a boy. And even his experiences before that, it’s a world I know nothing about. It was a lovely peek behind the curtain, it’s I think where Tom Felton shines. he comes across as a very humble and kind person, someone who understands and values the extraordinary circumstances he grew up in. While also acknowledging the downfalls of such a life, throughout it and later on. Especially the way he coped with suddenly not having the structure in life that filming provided. It was incredible to read a very vulnerable account on a very low point and then the work he did to take on life more fully again. The mental health aspects were really good, he is a bit older than me but our generation did not talk about mental health much back in the day. It’s more a thing of this era and all the children growing up now are blessed that the adults around them are more aware of the importance of mental health. But it’s a message a lot of young people still have to hear, especially young men (as I have found that a lot of mental health content is geared towards women). If you are aware of your mental health, you can cope better with the off days, and there is strength in that. The messages in the book were clearly written from the heart. There are a lot of references to Harry Potter and the ‘magical’ and ‘muggle world’ which is cute if a bit cringe at times. But then again the man chose a theme and stuck with it. I think for super fans of the Potter series it would be well… magical. So I see why it’s there and as I said it was cute.

So yes, surprisingly I did love it even if you are by no means a fan of Tom Felton it’s a good book to pick up. It was easy to read with clearly divided chapters so if you are not a big reader you can spread it out easily. I know now that Tom Felton writes songs as well, honestly, I might become a fan after all of this. This book, I must say, got me halfway there.

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