Reviewer: Miss Cai
The last couple of weeks saw me overseas where I was busy working on a film set in Paris and Tokyo, so when I came back to Singapore, I was way too knackered and jet-lagged to make it to the 7.01am bookstore event on Sunday, celebrating Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – the 8th story (nineteen years later).
Having said that, I was mighty gleeful when I received my copy of the book on Monday morning, all nicely wrapped up in parchment paper with a special scroll addressed to me, with a fancy feather quill to boot!
This new book, touted as the “special rehearsal edition script” had been making waves for some time now, since word got around about the new West End play – especially the controversial choice of having a “black Hermione” (to which J. K. Rowling’s epic response was just hats-off cool).
Diving straight into it, this unapologetic bookworm finished the 343-page hardcover read in a day. Playwright Jack Thorne did good job in continuing Rowling’s incredible legacy- definitely not an easy task especially when there is so much global expectation and anticipation! Similar themes are woven, a continuation of matters close to Rowling’s original books: love, friendship and the greater good.
Potterheads would love this, just because. And if you for some reason aren’t familiar with the original series of books, this story still reads well alone. Of course for those of us who grew up on Harry Potter, you’d be happy to “revisit” some of Rowling’s best loved characters like late wizardry heroes Dumbledore and Snape… besides seeing everybody’s favourite trio now as working adults with schooling children.
What I really loved about the read (remember this is a screenplay, not a novel) is that it seemed like the characters “grew up” with me. I’d fallen in love with the very first Harry Potter book when it came out, and had invested much heart throughout the years over the entire series… crying my heart out at the final page of the last book. Reading this, with the main characters all grown up and struggling with parenting (and loss), felt remarkable real to me because life isn’t a bed of roses, even if you are a magician. The struggle is real.
Granted, the tenacious kids in the story are the true main characters and heroes of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Some parts of Thorne’s script for some reason made me think of Star Wars, due to the inevitable parent-child links…
And like Rowling’s style of writing, while these stories are suitable for children and young adults (tackling real life issues that everyone can understand like popularity, school gossip, peer pressure, self image, friendship, etc), grown ups will also enjoy the deeper meaning found in the layers of messages throughout the book (marriage, communication, parenting woes, teenage angst, unconditional love, etc.) as well.
To be honest, it took a little while for me to fully get into the book – but after the slow start and slightly clunky middle, the rhythm and pacing picked up and it quickly became a deliciously captivating page turner. So take my advice… give it a chance and don’t be too impatient in finishing up this read!
Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised that the powers that be will very shortly try to milk this project for its worth; possibly planning a touring version of the current West End stage production, and who knows, maybe a brand new movie is even in the works!
But back to the book. The screenplay is creatively written, with clever use of past scenes and iconic moments in the entire story arc. It also features some time traveling, and you know how messy that can get! Lots of strong conflicted characters, development of both story and relationships, besides beautiful struggles that are won over by love and magic… they’re winning ingredients in conjuring up a mega bestseller!
Fans would no doubt “collect” this new Harry Potter book even though technically it isn’t (fully) written by J.K. Rowling… If you’re not a self-professed Potterhead, I would still encourage you to pick up this read – the physical book from your favourite bookstore, not the ebook – and enjoy a lazy weekend flipping through page after page of a beautiful story that joins its well-loved siblings in being a shining star in today’s literary pop culture.
An enjoyable read that comes recommended 🙂 Available from all good bookstores!
PS: Don’t miss my Instagram giveaway where one lucky follower gets to win a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! Best of luck!