I was first recommended this book by a friend a few years after the book was first released, but before the series became a huge hit. I read the first book as I traveled down Highway 101 of the Oregon coast on my honeymoon, and I immediately fell in love . . . while my love that I just married asked if I was going to spend some time with him instead of having my nose in a book!
I attended my first midnight release party during the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I attended the second for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as an employee at my local indie bookstore, dressed up alongside my fellow fans and running a photo station at Platform 9 3/4. Both times, I found myself reading my new book as soon as I hit the couch at home. The second time with a nursing baby in my arms.
Then, it seemed to take forever for that final book being released. By that time, I had moved to the Midwest and was working at a small university. An opportunity fell in my lap to teach a class on any book I wanted. I chose Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and it was the semester before the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We examined the story: why fans became super fans, why people chose to challenge it, and what we thought was going to come in the final installment of this much anticipated story. I even wrote a devoted Harry Potter blog for a while (it still exists, but is currently hidden).
|My Crystal Cheese Ball|
Midnight release parties came to end for me. I would periodically pick up the books as a re-read, especially during the difficult times of my life. I couldn't focus on much of anything when my grandfather's cancer progressed very quickly at the end of his life and I eventually lost him to the illness. Harry Potter came to the rescue. I was able to immediately escape into a fictional land, and was able to deal with my grief as Harry dealt with his own.
When my father died, I experienced another dry spell in my reading. My eyes hurt from all the crying and I simply could not focus on reading more than a single page at a time. I turned to the movies, letting them play over and over and over again in the background.
I then pulled Harry out again a couple of years ago as a read-aloud with my children. I got to experience his beginnings again through the eyes of my children, and today, I am continuing my read-alouds with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Harry has been there for me for years, about 16 years to be exact. So, when I heard that there was going to be another book released after all these years, I knew that I would be there to buy it as soon as I had the chance. Luck had it, it would be at another midnight release party!
Over the last few days, I have had the opportunity to chat with others who have read the book. It was then that I came to discover that not all fans enjoyed the story. One of the main complaints that I have heard is that they didn't like the format. They wanted a novel because the script format was too simple. There was not enough detail and the story could not be completely conveyed or live up to its full potential. The other main grievance for fans is that it feels too much like fanfiction. I have not read any fanfiction, and so I don't feel qualified to address this too much. However, I do have one question . . . if a story comes from the original author herself, can it really be fanfiction? Doesn't fanfiction come from the fans?!?
I may eventually write a full review, complete with an opportunity to discuss the details and the spoilers. I may not. I haven't decided yet. But, I will say that I enjoyed the book. I went into the story knowing that it was a different format. I was willing to accept anything from the mind of Rowling to feed my desire to know where the characters may be 19+ years later. And, what I got satisfied me. It is not without its flaws. The characters are not without their flaws. I enjoyed revisiting familiar characters, for the good and the bad. And, I thoroughly enjoyed one new character wholeheartedly. I closed the book with a warm heart, and will add the book to my collection, will read it to my children as we progress through the series, and will re-read it with the novels in the future.
Because it is Harry. Harry has been there for me through the roller coaster ride of my life. I will continue to be there for him again and again and again.
Do you have a Harry Potter story you want to share? Have you picked up a copy of Cursed Child yet? If so, what are your general thoughts (no spoilers please)?