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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)

The American version of the first novel in J.K. Rowling's fantasy series.

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Good natured coming-of-age story with a twist of magic

  • Jan 7, 2010
Rating:
+3
Late to the party--again? I didn't read and review The Da Vinci Code until everyone else in the world already had, and I know I'm late to the Potter party as well--even in my own house. I'm the last to start reading the series (after my wife and college-age children), and I have studiously avoided the movies, preferring to get my first impression from the original content.

Which is Rowling's howlingly successful series about young Harry Potter, a comically downtrodden (demonstrated by the fact that he lives under the stairs, a sturdy British stereotype) young boy who finds out that he is the son of long-dead wizards, who were killed by a master evil wizard in a duel to protect him. Harry, at first totally unaware of his magical background, is enlightened when he starts receiving mail by owl and then in person inviting him to Hogwarts, England's premier school for wizards (ahh, the public school, another hoary old British stereotype). In this first book, we follow Harry through his year as a "first", where he discovers that far from ordinary, he is actually a celebrity among the students and is clearly first among equals.

It is easy to see why the target audience so overwhelmingly adopted this series. Many young people see themselves in the same light--outwardly ordinary, inwardly unique, controlled or limited by family ties, facing fearful and even dangerous situations amongst peers and classmates, learning to live under and with the authority of adults not their parents. The resolute Britishness of the story is interesting (Rowling is British, of course) and part of the attraction as well for American readers. Without the magical touches at Hogwarts, this might serve as a beginners guide to the British public-school experience, which is otherworldly enough to those outside it. Harry Potter might serve as the young-reader's backstory to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel, another very British story of magic in the real world,

But the real key to the story is that through it all, despite the veneer of magic and sorcery, it is essentially good-natured. I never felt that Harry or his classmates were in serious trouble. And in fact, Harry seems smarter than all of the kids and most of the adults around him so that even without magic he would be in control of most of the situations he faces anyway (for everything else--there's Dumbledore)--which may be the hidden message and true secret of the success of the story. It lets its young readers realize that they too can succeed within themselves, without magic, in any ordinary situation.

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More Harry Potter and the Sorcerer'... reviews
review by . July 04, 2010
   I ran across the first harry potter book quite by accident.  At the time I was living with my boyfriend on the north shore of Oahu and we would hang out on the beach almost everyday.  I love to read on the beach and one day I was out of my own books, so I began scouring through his bookshelf.  He had 3 of the Harry Potter books, which I had never heard of, so being a fan of series I thought I would try it out.  I thought it would be another 'young adult' …
review by . July 20, 2010
This is the very first and one if the best books  in the Harry Potter series. I read this when it first came out, and then my mom read aloud to my little sister. In this book we meet young Harry in his pre-Hogwarts days when hes still living with his aunt and uncle. Watching Harry's day to day life is almost tear-wrenching, they are so mean and hateful towards him you can't help but feel badly for him. Rowling set the reader up perfectly for the rest of the story by getting us …
review by . July 12, 2010
When I picked up the novel and read its title, I was puzzled. But upon reading it, I was thrilled to have discovered it (not hard since JK Rowling is most of the most recognizable names). I would recommend this book for people of all ages. The plot transcends any gender or age barriers. How can you say no to a battle between good versus evil?   The plot begins with the introduction of Harry Potter, the seemingly ordinary boy trapped in a miserable life and forced to obey his uncle and …
Quick Tip by . October 05, 2010
I had so much fun reading this book and think that it is wonderful how this entire series can bridge many ages/generations!
Quick Tip by . September 29, 2010
I shall always love this one. My son became an avid reader because of it.
review by . July 12, 2010
Looking back at the Sorcerer's Stone, there was SO MUCH planning that went into the series from the beginning. I honestly never thought I would fall in love with a book about witchcraft but I think it's more about just accepting people the way they are and having tolerance for differences. All of the Harry Potter books are good but I really do just love the first book.   This is a book where all age groups can like the movie. There's adventure, love, good themes, and anything …
review by . July 02, 2010
This book is the first one in the Harry Potter series, and in my opinion is one of the best. You first see Harry living with his Muggle (non-magical) aunt, uncle, and cousin who torment him to no end. They treat as an inferior person, making him sleep in a closet under the stairs. Harry notices that strange things have been happening about him; he then finds out that he is a wizard, and his whole life changes. The book introduces Harry's soon to be best friends, Ron and Hermione, as well as …
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
ive read this book entirely too many times. i think its around 30 now. a very good start to what is in my honest opinion the best book series of all time. harry potter haters say what you want. but find a series more well written, with an everchanging cast of characters, and an equally changing magical world, coinciding with a normal world, and that has made as much money, and ill understand what your saying.
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
One of the most perfect series-starters ever written; also works well if you never pursue the rest of the series. A lovely introduction to a world of mundane-plus-magic. The reader is instantly taken with Harry, learns with him, enjoys the excitement of it all. Worth re-reading!
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
This looks like the rpg games that we have, is interesting, it hooks you in, but at the end you realize that you just wasted your time.
About the reviewer
Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #38
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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ISBN-10: 0439708184
ISBN-13: 978-0590353427
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Children's Books, Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks, Scholastic Press
Format: Novel
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