Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
R.K. Rowling, 1997
Book Review by Molly Lundquist
Poor little Harry. He sleeps in a closet beneath the stairs, he's bullied by his cousin, despied by his aunt and uncle, and the most memorable gift the world ever saw fit to bestow upon him was a pair of old socks and a wooden hanger. But his world is about to change.
Harry, it turns out, is legendary, so famous—in a different plane of existence—that mere mention of his name elicits oohs and awe. Poor Harry, indeed! Yet until the strike of midnight on the eve of his 11th birthday, the little fellow had not a clue.
Eventually, Harry is enrolled in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and there begins his journey to young manhood. It is, literally, an enchanting place. Elaborate meals magically appear and disappear—with nary a dish rag in sight. Portraits move about on the walls; owls and ghosts, trolls and baby dragons populate the halls—along with, of course, wizards, wands, and magic.
This is a delightful read for any age—devilishly clever, funny, and wildly inventive. The Sorcerer's Stone is first in the HP series, and if you've stayed away because you fear it's childish, or because you dislike the genre, try to move past that. Rowling beckons us in through the doors of her imaginary world where we become so thoroughly engaged that when she finally sends us packing, back into the real word, it's a hard, hard letdown
True, Rowling's characters are drawn with little nuance, and at times the prose is clunky. But it doesn't matter. There's great pleasure to be had following Harry as he begins his journey of self-discovery—though it will take him the full series, seven books in all, to gain a complete understanding of his lineage and his powers.
But this first installment is good enough to stand on its own. For a light, easier read, when you've worn yourselves out with heavy lifting, choose The Sorcerer's Stone. You'll be charmed.
See our Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Reading Guide. Also see our Blog post: Confessions of a former skeptic.
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