When Harry Potter came out in 1997, it was exactly the wrong time for me. I was too mature for the target demographic but not mature enough to realize there’s nothing wrong with enjoying books written for a younger audience. Plus there was the whole *magic* thing, but let’s not get started on my pearl-clutchy, uptight views about that. Mostly it just flew under my radar, and I don’t recall being aware of the series until the hullaballoo that got kicked up when I was a freshman at a conservative Christian college and one of the lit professors put it on the syllabus.
For a while I didn’t read it because I wasn’t particularly interested. After years passed and the movies were completed, the Harry Potter phenomenon was so much a part of the zeitgeist that I figured I should read the books just to be a regular part of society. But I never got around to it. Then, after so much time had passed, my status as a Reader and a Nerd made my non-acquaintance with HP absolutely shocking and intolerable to fans. For the last few years, I’d not read the books for the pure delight of whispering to Potterheads at parties or other social occasions, “You know, I’ve never read any Harry Potter.” Inevitably, this confession is met with sputtering shock and outrage, and it is hilarious every time.
But a few weeks back, as I was sharing a family meal with my bestie and her kids, her 8-year-old was telling me about the Harry Potter books they were reading together at bedtime – they were all the way up to book three! This time, when I told my young friend I’d never read Harry Potter (and was met with the usual surprise), I asked if I could borrow his copy. I decided to stop being an asshole about it and join the fun.
Of course, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone is delightful. I read it in one day while I was sick in bed, and it made the time pass by in a flash. I am looking forward to the others. Hey, James, can I borrow The Chamber of Secrets?