Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So I'm finally reading...

Harry Potter.

I'm the type of person who will deliberately avoid being trendy just for spite. Some of you may have picked up on that, over the years. By the time I noticed students carrying around those tomes, it was the third or fourth one and they were wildly popular. There was no way I was going to read them then.

Times change. The first one was loaned more to Dear Husband than to me, but I said I'd read it if she'd read another book I've foisted off on her.

How is it so far? Honestly, I'm really enjoying it. I was told it was "kiddish," but it's not bothering me. Then again, I've read the Little House books, a spate of fairy tales, the Mowgli stories from the Jungle Book, and three of the Narnia Chronicles in adulthood, too. [I've decided that good books are good regardless of the intended audience. If it's a "children's book" and it makes you retch to read, it probably isn't worth reading. Unless it's the hundredth time this week--then it still can be good and make you want to blind yourself to avoid reading it again. But isn't that incentive to get your child good books?]

But now, about halfway through the first one, it's good. It reminds me a bit of Douglas Adams. It's the odd turns of phrase, like where for his birthday the Durnsleys got him an old coathanger and a pair of old socks. I can almost imagine Arthur Dent coming in with a bulldozer reference, you know?

I can't comment on the while witchcraft aspect, though. It seems to me it's so obviously fiction that I find it hard to believe folks have been all shook up about it.



At 6:18 PM, Blogger Barb, sfo said...

The series gets darker as you go. The first few are very harmless in that respect. I've read 4 or 5 of the books--but the space between them was so great as they were published that I finally gave up.
They are not worth the controversy.
But they are also not for first-graders. I'm glad my son was older by the time the darker books came out. He read the first one as a second-grader and that was fine.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Kasia said...

It does get darker. The first two or three are pretty light, all things considered; but starting with the fourth, Rowling starts to get into some thornier material.

But there are several strong Christian themes throughout the series, and frankly, I'm with you about the witchcraft thing. If pointing a stick and saying something Latinesque is enough to get people fussed...well, maybe some people are a bit too easily fussed, you know?

I do think Rowling got lazy, writing-wise, in the fifth through seventh books; either that, or the editors stopped being honest with her. But they're still a very enjoyable read - they just very obviously could have been better. I think the time pressure was probably getting to her.

Now that I've bored you with my opinion - enjoy the books! I may have to re-re-read them again now... :-)

At 9:59 PM, Blogger THE MOM WITH BROWNIES said...

Alright, I'm reading the one you gave me. Good Grief. :-)

At 6:58 AM, Blogger Heather said...

I've been told the series gets darker, but that makes sense considering Harry gets older. I remember adolescence as being pretty dark, myself.

And Barb, I figure the kids can wait a couple years before they read 'em. :) I'm trying to get her to read the Little House or Narnia first.

At 11:31 AM, Blogger Amy said...

As an avid Potter fan, I wholly agree.

The books get much more grown-up as they progress, but I never understood the witchcraft bruhaha.

There are worthy themes in the book, not undermined by what ultimately is child's play (the Latin "spells" and wand-waving and all that). Those who criticized the books most heavily didn't even read them, and others had no grasp of what *real* witchcraft really involves.

I have to disagree with kasia - I don't think Rowling got lazy as the books went on; I think she was given more leeway to write and - like an overexcited kid - wrote more than necessary, or at least used really flowery language. The first three needed to be "tight" because no publisher knew they'd be so wildly successful.


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