In the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to review a book that lies a little beyond the realm of reality and in one more magical.
I know I’m about a decade behind my peers, but I finally read “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” for the first time. That may be hard to believe, as it seems like the entire world read this book ages ago, but alas, it’s true, and I’ll admit I was missing out that whole time.
J.K. Rowling’s debut novel of her famed seven-book series captured the hearts of readers everywhere, and continues to do so to this day. Twenty years after its original publication, “Harry Potter” holds onto its popularity.
The story begins with a baby in a doorstep — the recently orphaned Harry Potter. He becomes the responsibility of his aunt Petunia and uncle Vernon after the most powerful dark wizard of all time kills his parents and unsuccessfully tries to kill Harry as well.
After ten years of living in a cupboard under the stairs in the Dursley house, being treated as nothing more than a burden, Harry receives a letter of invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Here, he befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger and the three start their long list of adventures together.
In this book, Harry learns about his parents’ murderer and must prevent the returned Dark Lord from gaining back his power with the help of his new friends.
After reading “The Sorcerer’s Stone,” it was easy to see how Rowling amassed such a following. I found I wanted to keep reading and immediately downloaded the second book onto my Kindle.
This book was clearly targeting a younger audience, as the story was easy to follow and worded simply. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but felt it was a novel my younger self would have liked even more.
A friend once said to me, “‘Harry Potter’ didn’t become famous because it was particularly well-written. It became famous because it’s a good story,” and I would have to agree.
The plot, the characters — the whole idea — is what draws readers in. Rowling doesn’t employ much in terms of literary devices, but this technique works well for her. These aspects of storytelling aren’t present to distract readers, so what they get is the tale in a pretty raw form. The book is relatively long — approximately 250 pages — but it’s a breeze to read.
“Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone” has 4.4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and 4.8 out of 5 on Amazon, where it is also a bestseller. If I’m rating the book simply as a young adult novel, I’d personally give it a solid 4. It really is a captivating story, but as I mentioned before, it’s not exactly the most wonderfully written work, which, at my age, is something I look for.
If only to keep up in pop-culture talk, everyone should read not only “Sorcerer’s Stone,” but the entire “Harry Potter” series. You might even find yourself sucked into the world of magic along the way.