Sunday, May 17, 2009

Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone - J.K. Rowling

Summary: Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far about the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.

All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley--a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry --and anyone who reads about him--will find unforgettable.

For it's there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him...if Harry can survive the encounter.
(picture from amazon.com - excerpt from book cover)

My review: I just finished reading this book to my husband. It’ll be the second time that we’ve read it together and probably the third or fourth time that I’ve read it myself. We aren’t die-hard Harry Potter fans but we have been to a few midnight releases sans costumes just to get started on the book. Maybe that does make us diehards. I don’t know. I do have to say that each time I read it I pick up on something new and I enjoy myself just as much as I did the first time I cracked the cover.

I think that Sorcerer’s Stone is a great introductory book into the world of Harry Potter. It is here that you get the first descriptions of Harry’s dysfunctional family, his abrupt introduction into the wizarding world, the mysteries and wonder of Diagon alley, the majesty of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the joys of unbreakable friendships, and the exhilaration of a good vs. evil battle. Each page is enchanting and effortless to imagine, allowing you to easily slip into Rowling’s world.

Believe it or not, there are still a few people out there who have not read these books yet. They are usually of one of four camps. The “It’s evil” camp, the “It’s trendy” camp, the “It’s a kid’s book” camp, and the “Seen the movie” camp.

To those out there who have chosen to not read these books, believing that they are evil: That is your right. I don’t dispute it. I quit reading the Golden Compass Series after I skimmed through it and didn’t like it’s sub themes. I think you’re missing out but I doubt I can change your mind.

To the “it’s trendy” camp. Get over yourselves. Yup, I said it. My brother was a part of this camp until he actually cracked one of the books. Then he read all seven of them in rapid succession. Embrace the trend. You’ll enjoy yourself.

To the “It’s a kids book” camp. It’s actually young adult and, as you might have noticed, these books are best sellers. AND FOR GOOD REASON. They are cross-generational, touching the lives of both young and old precisely because they allow us all to disappear inside the daydream. I have all of them in hardback so that I can read them to my kids someday. I might even have to buy them their own set. And you know what, I’m probably going to have to hide the set so they can’t read ahead. I almost have to do that with my husband.

To the “seen the movie” camp. You think you know Harry Potter? Even if you’ve seen the movie, I urge you to read this book. While the characters in the movie are extremely well cast, there is absolutely no way to get the depth of experience you can from the books. Trust me, there is enough new and interesting story (left out from the movie) to keep you entertained despite your knowledge of the basic plot. I really liked the movie, but compared to the book…well. I give it 3 stars.

You can probably tell already--but just to be clear--I L.O.V.E.D this book. It is the perfect way to spend the evening.

My rating: 5 HUGE STARS. For parents: The fantasy and magical elements in this book are fairly tame but, just like the Twilight Series (and MANY others), these books tend to get a bit more adult the further you get into the series. I feel like Book 1 is acceptable for the 8-10 age group but counsel against letting your 8 year old read clear through till book 7 without reading them yourself.

Sum it up: An unbelievably amazing trip into your own imagination. DO NOT MISS THE RIDE.

3 comments:

Kim said...

Ok. I am one of those have not read these books yet. Not for any of the mentioned reasons. I just didn't think they looked like something I would enjoy.....However..... I have begun to collect the series, because, like you, I know that I will want to read them to my kids one day. I may wait until then to read them, how neat to all experience it together, for the first time. Glad to get your insights into the series!

MindySue said...

Kim. U. R. Crazy. I think you would really like them. You could always try just ONE. I really don't think you'll be disappointed.

Marlyse and Kenny said...

Everyone needs to at least read the first book. I have never enjoyed fantasy, and put down The Sorcerer's Stone after the first chapter because it seemed silly. I picked it up again a week later because I had nothing else to read and within a few hours had started a decade long bromance with Harry Potter. Even if you don't like the genre, the characters and world she has created will suck you in. People lump it in with the likes of Lord of the Rings, but I have never enjoyed Tolkien and feel like HP is in a class of its own.

I will also have my kids read the series, but I am going to try and make sure they do not watch the movies first. Hogwarts and the rest of the wizarding world she creates is too robust for film, and I regret ever watching them. My own imagination of what books 1-4 contained (I was lucky enough to read them before the WB movie deal) have been replaced by CGI and oftentimes poorly cast actors (e.g. Remus Lupin, a hero in the book, looks like a used car salesman in the movies). I think the creation of this world is better left to the author and the individual.

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