book review, play

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

To suffer is as human to breathe.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Jack Throne and John Tiffany

harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child

Click the above image to purchase the book on Amazon.

I know I am way past the trend, and to be fair, I did try and read this when it first came out. I just never really engaged in it enough last year, but I have finally made my way through it.

AUTHOR: Jack Throne and John Tiffany; based off of J.K. Rowling’s work

GENRE: Drama, Fantasy

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK: Amazon

RATING: 2.5/5 stars.

SUMMARY: Albus Severus Potter, the middle child of Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley, struggles with fitting in at Hogwarts. He becomes somewhat of a social outcast because he was a Potter that was sorted into the Slytherin House. He quickly befriends Scorpius Malfoy, who is also a social outcast because there are rumors that he is not really Draco’s son but rather the heir of Voldemort. Albus is unsettled, and hates Hogwarts, and hates being Harry Potter’s son. When Albus meets a woman that claims to be the cousin of Cedric Diggory, he and Scorpius are pulled into an opportunity to prove themselves to their fathers and to their peers at Hogwarts. However, they are really entering into a complex situation that may alter the course of wizarding history.

THOUGHTS: Okay, so, I did not hate this play as much as a lot of other people. However, I found it to be written as more of a fanfiction than an official installment in the Harry Potter series. My issue with the book is not that it wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling, nor was it the fact that there were less “magic” tricks in the book. It’s just that I didn’t find the story believable.

I don’t know if I buy Albus’ motivations; I get that he wanted to fix one of his father’s mistakes and somehow differentiate himself from the legacy that he had inherited, but I do not know if those are sufficient for him to buy the whims of a girl that he barely knows. There are other aspects of the plot that I will not go into (cause spoilers) that I didn’t find believable: there were genuinely nice characters that got turned into Death Eaters because of humiliation (there has to be a darker reason within someone to join the Dark Side…right?), there were endgame romances split apart because of simple changes, and somehow Hermoine was the Minister for Magic- an amazingly brilliant character who I adore but has never been that charismatic nor great with people as a politician? What?

Additionally, I think there is a lot more value in the character of Ronald Weasley than just as the comic relief. I wish the play had done him more justice.

But enough- I am not here to bash the book completely, but nor am I here to lie and sing its praises. I am aware that this is only a script that I have read, and that watching the play must be a different experience, and I am sure it is more enjoyable as a show. There are genuine parts of the script that I enjoyed, such as Harry struggling with parenting techniques, the angsty teen emotions that always populated the world of Harry Potter, the genuine moments of despair as the adult characters have to come to terms with their actions- past and present. There are the same kinds of soaring inspiration and life lessons that always permeated the Wizarding World present in the script. The play beckons the same kind of humanity that the Harry Potter series has always strived to present, and I believe that alone is the play’s redeeming quality.

It is also a nice reminder that just because Voldemort had vanished from the world of Harry Potter, it did not mean that there was no more dark magic to be fought, and no more life struggles to be had.

Although there are a lot of things I question about this script, nevertheless it was nice to sink back into a world that I had grown up with and is so familiar to me. It was nice to see adult Harry as the same, troubled person he had always been. It was a nice escape, and I think all Harry Potter fans should give this book a chance and develop their own opinions about it, while keeping in mind that when it comes to Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling will always reign supreme.

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book review, play, reread

Reread: The Glass Menagerie


AUTHOR: Tennessee Williams

GENRE: tragedy, drama

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK: from the lovely people at my local Half Price Books! It is obviously used and has since had tea spilled on it, writings scribbled in its margins, and its cover torn. 😦

WHY DID I (RE)READ IT: for English class

RATING: 5/5 stars

THOUGHTS: I was quite excited when I looked at the syllabus for my English class and I saw that I would have the opportunity to read The Glass Menagerie. First of all, I love Tennessee Williams and I strive to read more of his works. And second of all, it is the kind of play that you can read again and again and still get something new from it each time.

This is the story of the Wingfields, a family struggling to get along in New York City. There are three main characters, each caught up in their own world of dreams, fantasies, and illusions. It is set in the middle of the Great Depression, a time when the American middle class was completely stagnant. The feeling of being trapped is also pretty relevant throughout the play.

 

I adore Menagerie not just because it is riddled with poetic devices and creative license, not just because it is experimental and avant garde, but because of the attention to detail that the playwright gives to this play, especially in the stage directions. I felt as though if you watched this play only, you would miss some of it because the stage directions tat Williams gives are detailed and adds layers to the story beyond the dialogue, which is a weird twist but not an unwelcome one.

In sum, if you enjoy well written drama, the combining of forms (play, poems, short story even?), and can appreciate the art and methodology that goes into creating a story, this is a must-read for you.

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