Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: 01.01.1997
Harry hates living with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and their spoiled-rotten son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny closet beneath the stairs, and the entire family treats him with disdain. What's more, Harry keeps getting into trouble for making strange things happen - things he seems to have no control over. But then Harry discovers the truth about himself when a determined messenger delivers an enlightening message. It turns out that Harry's mother was a witch, his father a wizard. And not only is Harry also a wizard, he's a famous one! His survival of the attack by the evil wizard who killed his parents has marked him as a legendary hero - as has the lightning-bolt-shaped scar on his forehead.
Soon Harry finds himself attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he receives training in some magic basics, masters riding a broomstick, and discovers his incredible talent for a game called Quidditch, which is played in the air on flying brooms. And for the first time in his life, Harry has friends who care about him: his fellow students Hermione and Ron and a giant named Hagrid. But all is not rosy when Harry discovers his true destiny and finds he must once again face the evil one who killed his parents. His survival will depend upon the help of his newfound friends, as well as his own wit and powers.
It's easy to see why Harry Potter has caught the reading public's fancy. Not only are his adventures an entertaining mix of fright, fantasy, and fun, his triumphs over everyday adversities offer a heartening lesson to kids everywhere.
I'm sure everyone and their dog has already read Harry Potter, or has at least seen the first movie. You know the basic storyline, you've seen the characters, the costumes, the wands, and have probably heard a lot about the storyline. Maybe you've even read a few books that were influenced by Harry Potter. I have just read it for the first time (I'm not counting the time my 6th grade teacher read it to the class). I'm not sure what I can add to what has already been said, but here are my two cents anyway. Enjoy!
If there was one thing I didn't expect Harry Potter to be, it was funny. While I think this first book was lacking in some areas (I'll get to that), it was not lacking in humor. I laughed through the entire book, and yet I don't think I have ever come across such natural, less-forced humor. Each character is equipped with their own sense of humor, making their jokes and sense of sarcasm very different from everyone else. I could actually tell each person by their sense of humor. I appreciate that, because I know a lot of thought went into creating each character.
Which brings me to my next point, which is that these characters could be real people walking around today, and I would not be surprised. This is the first book in the series, and I already feel like I understand the characters--or at least their reasons behind their actions. Those I don't understand, I am significantly intrigued about, wanting to know more about them and their actions in the story. I won't talk extensively about this (it's been covered many times), but I will say that J.K. Rowling did an amazing job creating them.
There are some things that keep me from absolutely loving this book, and one of them is one of my biggest pet peeves: telling, not showing, important parts of the story. Before I offend anyone, it's true that J.K. Rowling does a fantastic job describing the wizard world, and the things that go on there. The imagination she was able to bring out in my mind with her descriptions of Diagon Alley, Hogwarts, Gringott's and Quidditch, is just fantastic. What bothered me though, is that events the characters plan and talk about were often glossed over in a few sentences. I can't think of a specific example right this moment, but there were times when the characters would discuss an important step in their plans...and then the next sentence would be a quick line saying that they finished the step.
My next reason is one that I think is only a reason because I have seen the movies, and know the storyline. I just expected...more. I didn't feel the nail-biting, adrenaline-rushing, feelings that I did when I watched the movie for the first time, and that was kind of a letdown.
In conclusion, this is definitely a great book. I think anyone who hasn't read it yet, definitely should. I felt something while reading--like I was suddenly a part of something important. I look forward to knowing what happens to these characters (even though I already do, I want to know each and every detail). I look forward to experiencing the next adventures with them. And I'm pretty sad I did't buck up and do it along with the rest of the nation. I can't help but feel like I missed out on something big because I didn't.
...just read it! It's a must.
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*