Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

From Goodreads: Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.


I’m not sure how many times I’ve actually read this series… six, eight, ten… Harry Potter has been a part of my existence for so long that I can’t even keep track of all the times I’ve read them or seen the movies anymore. But regardless of how many times I’ve read (or watched) this series, the one constant is that it continues to get better each time, because each time I read it, I see it through new, more-grown up eyes, and at 36-years-old, this series still resonates powerfully with me, though in different ways. Whereas as a teen I saw myself in Hermoine and wished for adventure and friends like Ron and Harry to experience it with, as an adult, I see myself more in Snape and McGonagle, wishing to impart knowledge and affect my students in the same manner as these great teachers… though not all believe Snape to be great (but he is). Once upon a time I found the teachers in the story to be boorish and a means to an end, but now see them as being the constant Harry and his friends need in order to survive and fight the good fight another day, and I’ve grown to love all the characters (except Delores Umbridge, never her), while my appreciation for Rowling’s craft has grown ten-fold. No matter my age, this series is one I cherish and will come back to time and time again, one that I hope to someday share with my own children and my nieces and nephews.

So, the Dursley’s. They’re awful, just awful, but I enjoyed reading about them again as I restarted the series, and they got me to thinking… Rowling really knows how to paint a picture, and though it’s easy to hate these muggles for how much they dislike the wizarding world and how awfully they treat Harry, this time around I began thinking that their immense hate and dislike stems from a number of psychological issues, such as fear and jealousy. Both fear and jealousy can cause people to turn into the worst sort of human, easily lead by the fake injustices or worst-case-scenarios they’ve created in their minds, and their overcompensation for their beliefs cause this terrible treatment of Harry in their misguided attempts to keep him “safe.” Of course this does not justify them in any way, and because of them they’ve created a monster in Dudley, but reading about them again made me really feel sorry for them; they must live a terrible existence, with their fear of the wizarding world, and Petunia’s knowledge that she never made amends with her sister… I know she comes off as a mean ole’ wench, but deep down, I think there’s a part of Petunia that’s truly sorry for everything that happened and keeps happening. At least, she doesn’t seem as bad in the novel as the movie makes her out to be.

But, I digress. Rowling has built an entire world that co-exists with our own, and so it doesn’t take much to become enamored by the magic of it all and begin wondering “what if,” which is what makes this novel so much fun for readers young and old alike. What person hasn’t thought about riding a broom, being whisked off to a castle-like boarding school to study, casting spells on unsuspecting people… Harry, Hermoine, and Ron are living the dream, and because they are so well written and incredibly realistic, it is easy to become a part of the story and join them on their adventures, even though the adult in me screams at them to stop, to get help, but the child in me winks and tells them to keep going.

Harry Potter itself is an amazing bildungsroman, with The Sorcerer’s Stone being the initial novel to help Harry morph into himself, to allow him to finally stand up for himself and all children out there who are beaten down by those around them, have limited friends, and feel like outcasts. Harry’s growth within this novel is amazing, and Rowling, I think, expertly captures what it means to grow up and mature. The difference between the timid Harry at the beginning and the self-assured yet humble Harry at the end is quite astounding when put into perspective. He definitely is a character that many young teens can connect with and see themselves in, and his characterization solidifies for me why Rowling is such a gifted writer. I wish I could say that Ron has changed as much as Harry has in this novel, but he’s still a bit of a timid youngster by the end, afraid of his own shadow it seems, which can be just a tad annoying, as it were, though I wouldn’t change him for the world. Of course, I did spend a great bit of time chiding the characters in my mind as I read, as I’m now at that age where I continually ask YA characters, “why don’t you tell an adult?!” but realistically, tweens and teens don’t generally tell adults anything, plus there would be little storyline if they did, so at some point, I just grin and bear it.

And you know, I always forget how much of a role Neville plays in this initial novel. I’m not sure why I haven’t internalized that as of yet, but it is interesting because though the novel is obviously not about Neville, in a way it is. He’s Harry’s counterpart, and had Voldemort come to Neville’s home first, instead of Harry’s, then perhaps Neville could have been the “chosen one.” The movies, unfortunately, don’t do Neville justice, and they cut out a many of his scenes from the novel, scenes that showcase him to be a much larger part of the story, and I am thankful to always be reminded of just how important he is as I re-read this novel each time.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a fantastic book of courage and growth and they’re worth a thousand reads, because these books are so wonderful; even as adults, we never really grow up, and Harry Potter always brings back so much nostalgia for me that I’ll never stop re-reading them. Five stars.

I own this beloved novel and entire series in both hardcover and audible.

Did you know that you can listen to this novel for FREE with a FREE TRIAL of Audible for 30 days? Try it today!

Kindle | Audible | Paperback | Hardcover

Have you read the short prequel to the Harry Potter series, yet?

And if you missed them, read my review of:

The Chamber of Secrets #2

The Prisoner of Azkaban #3

The Goblet of Fire #4

The Order of the Pheonix #5

The Half-Blood Prince #6

The Deathly Hallows #7


et cetera
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