Saturday, November 19, 2016


In the fall of 1998, I vowed to never read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.


I guess I need to be more careful about making such absolute statements.


At the time, I was a bookseller. I hated the Harry Potter books and their fans because of the slobbering mania of the latter. They made our bookseller day-to-day lives hell for a stretch of years, but more so near the release of each new novel.

I remember one release party where I was trying to roll a cart of boxes of books from the receiving room through the parking lot, flanked by three or four booksellers acting as "bodyguards" and we were literally mobbed by kids and their parents. We had to shout at them to get back and threaten them with no sale of books before they would part and allow us to get inside the front of the store with the books. It was fervor and madness like I had never seen for a product. A book, yes, but still a product.


Eighteen years later I have asked The Child to read the first Harry Potter book to me. Yes, this is a bit of semantics, but it does allow me to honor my vow while finally engaging the text.

(By the way, The Child, a devout fan of the series, having read all of the books multiple times, was more than happy to oblige.)

(Also "by the way," I've seen the film adaptation of this book, so I am familiar with the storyline.)


It is not as bad as I had feared, nor is it as good as I had hoped it could be. But it's an honest, enjoyable tale.

The story is lively and moves along quickly. Some of the descriptions are downright awful, though. For example, Rowling describes the half-giant Hagrid as twice as tall as a man and five times as wide, with hands the size of garbage can lids and feet the size of baby dolphins. That description is laughable. But such awkward metaphor usage hasn't stopped me from enjoying the book. And The Child is obviously enjoying sharing a beloved book with me. So on we read.


After this, I may even read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on my own!

No comments: