I have an embarrassing confession to make: I never read Harry Potter.
I know, I know, it’s bad for someone who loves children’s literature and writes.
My children were little when Harry hit the world with magical tsunami-like might.
Only my oldest daughter, an avid and excellent reader at a young age, read the first book. Her father bought it for her, and she read it in a few days. Her father waited then, with the anticipation of a true fan, for the sequels, which he bought for our daughter, who in turn read each with equal passion.
Later, my younger children also fell in love and hate with Harry, his friends and their foes.
There was something about the Harry Potter books that stopped me in the first place.
Another confession – less embarrassing than the first one because I know lots of people share my habit – I love to read in bed so I prefer books under 400 pages. You know how heavy books tend to land on your head when you drift asleep?
Despite its 500 pages and the fact that it is a hardcover, I read the latest J.K. Rowling. And I understood why everyone who read Harry Potter absolutely adored Harry Potter.
A Casual Vacancy has nothing to do with Harry Potter – at least from what I was told. It has a distinctive yet mundane plot, a set of extraordinary yet ordinary characters, and a familiar yet exotic setting. But I bet J.K. Rowling applied in both an exceptional talent for rich, detailed descriptions, for ringing-true dialogues, for deadpan humor.
She said her next book would be for children again. Selfishly? I hope not.
Meanwhile, I will dig through my kids’ shelves and find Harry Potter.