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I read the Harry Potter series years ago, though not when they first came out. I had a thing back then about reading books which were being talked about non-stop. The more someone told me, you have to read this book, the less I wanted to read it. I finally caved and ended up absolutely falling in love with the books. Now my kids are starting to read the Harry Potter series and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to revisit them myself. We currently have five people in our family reading through the series. I think that’s pretty awesome!
Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter has been raised unloved and mistreated by his aunt and uncle who took him in as an infant when his parents died. Much to his surprise, Harry finds out that he has been accepted into a school for witchcraft and wizardry, and that he is in fact quite famous for having survived an attack by a powerful wizard named Voldemort. Follow Harry in his first-year adventures–playing quidditch, making friends, and unraveling the mystery of who is trying to steal a valuable and potentially dangerous substance from the school!
It is a bit difficult to review this book objectively because I’ve seen the movie multiple times. How do I separate my impressions of the one without talking about the other? I’m not sure that I can. Rest assured, I’ll go back and watch the movie to post a review of it at some later date.
I love, love, love this book! Rowling’s style of storytelling is wonderful! She balances the dialogue and action well, keeping the story going at just the right pace. Her characters are well-developed and relatable. By the end of the book they end up feeling like old friends (and enemies).
The author also has an uncanny ability to inject humor into the story–through interesting and feisty characters, humorous situations, and the wonderful medium that is British humor. In the books a lot more of that subtle humor comes through, which unfortunately, doesn’t always make it into the movies. Don’t get me wrong–I love the movies, but they don’t catch the full personality of the book characters, nor the subtleties of every situation.
There was one section of the book which I thought was really hilarious, which was shortened and condensed for the movie. The part about the lengths that Harry’s uncle Vernon goes to in trying to escape the letters is absolute gold. I thought it was one of the funniest parts of the book.
I was also struck by how long it took for Harry and Ron to accept Hermione as one of the gang. In the book she is much more awkward, talkative, overbearing and disliked. I don’t think the movie was wrong in speeding up that sequence, it’s just different. Honestly, I think I prefer the movie version of that aspect of the story because it makes Hermione more likable and less socially awkward.
Another thing I noticed was that in the scene where Harry defeats the antagonist, the person is burned. I appreciated that they changed that for the movie because I think it would have been a bit much visually for kids to handle.
I highly recommend Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to kids all the way from elementary school up through teens. It’s also a great family read-aloud. The story is timeless and would appeal to many ages.
A Favorite quote:
“’Oh, these people’s minds work in strange ways, Petunia, they’re not like you and me,’ said Uncle Vernon, trying to knock in a nail with the piece of fruitcake Aunt Petunia had just brought him.” (p. 40)
Rating: 5 Stars
Until next time…