” ‘Harry Potter’ created a generation of readers in an era when kids could have disappeared into the depths of the Internet. That’s no small feat. Every book series owes J.K. Rowling a debt of gratitude.” ~ Gary Ross
“He that loves reading has everything within his reach.” ~ William Godwin
As a kid I was an avid reader, to the point my mom would sit on the floor of Waldenbooks (remember that store?) And peruse the limited Young Adult (literally it took up two shelves) and Adult sections for her nine year old. By that age I had read all of Nancy Drew, Boxcar Children, Bobbsey Twins, and even Trixie Belden who had been re-released for a limited time.
I was an avid reader, but also picky. I loved mysteries and girl protagonists. The assistants who we knew well, kept trying to convince me to read a book about a boy wizard. I refused. Boys have cooties! I didn’t want to read about them!
Finally having read the bookstore out of books that wouldn’t scar me for life (VC Andrews anyone?) I decided I would give this lame book a try.
And I ate my words. I was in love. Not with Harry, who let’s be real had a bit of a hero complex, but this world that was created. At the time only the first three books were out and I quickly devoured them. Then reread them. Again and again. And again.
I was still naive about what a phenomenon it was, until I tried to buy the fourth book, the day it came out. Without having preordered it. Until then, reading wasn’t really cool, which meant I wasn’t really cool. Which I was fine with. I had my friends I hung out with and we would literally spend the time reading and writing. Yup I was a nerd even back then.
So my dad and I went to the store, and I am surprised they didn’t laugh us out the mall. They nicely told us they could put us on a waitlist and if someone didn’t pick it up by the end of next day, I would get one. Otherwise I would have to wait until they got a shipment in. Bummed out, my dad gave them his phone humber and we left and grabbed breakfast.
The next evening, resigning myself to the fact it would be awhile until I read the fourth book, my parents called me into the kitchen sounding all serious. Thinking I had done something I went in and their holding the fourth book was my Dad. Lady Luck was on my side and I had gotten a copy.
The fourth cemented my love affair with the Harry Potter world. It also taught me the lesson of preorder. Preorder. Preorder. It also started the tradition, that every time a book came out which was about every two years in July, my Dad and I would go and buy it and then go out to eat.
It wasn’t just childhood memories, but traditions. Harry, Hermione, and Ron, became my friends. As JK Rowling released the books, I grew with them, since every novel was a year older then the previous. I could relate to them. No I didn’t think I was a witch (though I wanted to be one) the angst, emotions, love, loss, were all things I could relate too.
When book seven came out, I cried. Yes it was great writing, but also because it was an end of an era. And era of excitement, and patience. Of conspiracy theories and adventures.
It was also something as my siblings began to have children, that I realized they wouldn’t have. Harry Potter was unique, because the books grew with us. The characters, the writing, the plots all grew adult wise with us. Something that other series can’t claim. And was what made it so magical. So relatable.
While it has been nine years since Deathly Hallows was published, I still every July reread the series from Sorcerers Stone right on through. It is still as enjoyable as when I was a teenager, and yes I always discover something new.
This year, I am excited I can add the play to my tradition. While it may be as a script, it is a still a continuation of the series. And as I read it, I can almost imagine, my childhood. he only thing that is missing is a breakfast date with my dad.