NESFA Members' Reviews

coverHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

by J. K. Rowling

A book review by Mark L. Olson

Scholastic Press, 1998 (1997 in the UK), 309 pp., $16.95

Harry Potter is a delightful YA book which -- like any good YA book -- can be thoroughly enjoyed by adults, also.

Harry Potter is an orphan raised by an unloving and extremely mundane Aunt and Uncle along with a remarkably swinish cousin. We know that there's something special about him and he dimly guess that there may be also, but mostly he just endures an awful childhood. Until at age eleven he receives an invitation to attend Hogwarts', the greatest school in England for teaching witchcraft and wizardry.

Like everyone else, he's unaware that there is a whole world of witches and wizards which exists in and alongside our own, carefully keeping to themselves. But into that world he is thrust -- and not at all unwillingly. The magical world is a lot of fun - in the traditional ritual of outfitting for school, Harry is taken by a sort-of giant to a hidden section of London where the magical shops are to be found to buy his clothes and supplies for his new school -- and Hogwarts' itself is marvelous.

It looks like the plot is fairly standard for YA: the ugly duckling goes through all the usual school problems: bullies, unfair teachers, etc, and makes friends. And then the fantasy element takes over and he and his friends are thrust into resolving the Mysterious Events that are happening around them. It's great fun.

See also my other reviews of J. K. Rowlings' novels: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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