Thursday, June 30, 2011

Harry Potter (Book Thoughts)

I know. You're thinking, "She's a little late with this one."

I must confess, back in 1997, when my daughter, Amanda, came home with "Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone," I smiled and nodded at her. She finished the book in one weekend. When she told me I should read it, I told her I'd get around to it.

When "Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets" was released, Amanda HAD to have it. Of course, I bought it for her. I like to invest money in books whenever I can.

Amanda and her friends became obsessed with Harry Potter and everything about the magical world. They went to bookstores and waited on long lines for the midnight releases. They argued over which 'house' was the best, and about how cool it would be if Hogwarts was real. Amanda has read each Harry Potter book multiple times. Whenever a new book or movie came out, she would re-read the entire series, timing it perfectly for the new release.

At first, I thought it was all cute but honestly, after a while, the whole Harry Potter thing annoyed me. Don't ask me, "Why?" I don't know. Maybe I was envious. I was definitely impressed with JK Rowling's ability to capture millions of people around the world, but I just didn't want to read the books. I'm the type of person who never gives in to hype. I usually wait until the dust settles before sneaking in the back door and investigating what the craze is all about. You guessed it--I still haven't read any of the Twilight books or seen any of the movies. I'll get around to it, though.

In my defense, I saw the first five movies when they came out. OK, I'm lying. I waited until they were released on DVD. Did I love the movies? Absolutely! But I still hadn't read one word of the first book. I used the excuse that the movie would ruin my view of the book.

Amanda came home from the Marine Corps in December. Along with tons of stuff she had accumulated and somehow stored in her barracks room for the past four years, she also brought home three large boxes of books. Inside one of those boxes, was the complete boxed set of Harry Potter.

I finally gave in to her pleas and picked up the first book. I told myself reading the story would be great research for my children's writing education. I read it in two nights. I finished the second book two nights later and the third book took me only four nights. Now, I'm hooked. Heck, I even tweeted about 'Pottermore.'

So, what are my thoughts on what I've read? Well, I'm probably wrong about this. What do I know? JK Rowling has sold so many books, she couldn't write them fast enough for her fans. But, I'm going to be honest here and say I noticed some passive voice in the first three books and JK uses 'had had' a few times, which I find difficult to read. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being overly critical. I just noticed those few things. Did they take anything away from my Harry Potter experience? No, not at all. In fact, I can't explain it but, these little quirks made me feel more comfortable. I realized this amazing storyteller who has captured millions of children and adults around the world is actually a real person.

Now, fourteen years later, the last Harry Potter movie is coming soon to theatres. Amanda is already timing her series re-reading to coincide with the movie's release. She will probably attend the midnight show and I plan on going with her, with a much better understanding of the wizarding world, wishing I could attend Hogwarts.