I have a soft spot for memoirs, but I tend to stay away from celebrity memoirs since those are almost always ghost written. I didn’t find any information about collaboration with a ghost writer on Beyond the Wand. But I cannot resist, when the memoir involves the boy who played my ten year old self’s love interest, especially when he narrates the audiobook himself.
In his memoir Felton recounts several anecdotes from his early years, as a cocky (as he likes to say) teenage boy on the film set and off the film set. Most of the anecdotes are downright hilarious while others are heartening. On the audiobook, each time he chuckles at the memory of his boyhood escapades I melt- I mean my ten year old self melts. It turns out that he was a somewhat perfect Draco- snarky and world-weary. I said “somewhat” because Draco’s family and upbringing is wildly different from the author’s. His anecdotes about actors and professionals he worked with throughout those early years were a welcome dose of nostalgia.
The final third of the book is different. I was enjoying myself so far in the book but the closing chapters cemented my love for this book and the author. Felton is transparent and vulnerable, not what I was expecting. He talks about mental health with distinct empathy. I particularly appreciated chapter 27, and I’ll visit it again. This part of the book is his attempt to destigmatize rehab, therapy, medication, and most importantly his attempt to normalize the uneasiness that comes with feeling bad- particularly helpful for men (although men might not be the intended target audience for this book). We all go through bouts of feeling low from time to time, in those moments knowing that you’re not alone can be helpful. I am grateful for his openness and I admire Felton for it.
One thing that struck me was his acknowledgement of how powerful it is to help others, as a tool to care for your own mental health. I’ve experienced the immediate shift in my mood when I know that I was of help. And that’s the closest I’ve come to real magic.
I think this is one of those times when the audiobook is superior to reading the book. If you’re a fan, you will love it. If you’re not a fan, give it a try, this story might turn you into one.
Some quotes I liked from the book.
- “Helping others is a powerful weapon in the fight against mood disorders.”
- “The only true currency we have in life is the effect we have on those around us.”
- “To this day I never know which version of myself I’m going to wake up to. It can happen that the smallest chores or decisions—brushing my teeth, hanging up a towel, should I have tea or coffee—overwhelm me. Sometimes I find the best way to get through the day is by setting myself tiny, achievable goals that take me from one minute to the next. If you sometimes feel like that, you are not alone, and I urge you to talk about it to someone. It’s easy to bask in the sun, not so easy to enjoy the rain. But one can’t exist without the other. The weather always changes. Feelings of sadness and happiness deserve equal mental screen time.”