Oh the nostalgia – it’s been such a long time since the last time I got to gush over a new Harry Potter book!
I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as soon as it came out but I wanted to think about it first for a while before writing anything. Then my internship started and it got pushed even further. But here are some of my thoughts on the new play (in the book format…actual play review will come only in January when I get to see it).
I get the feeling that a lot of people are disappointed in Cursed Child because it doesn’t present as vivid of a world as the originals…but how could it? It’s a play that is supposed to work on stage with the emotions of the actors and props guiding the story. A play in a book format is only the lines of the actors so naturally it doesn’t feel quite as engaging as a regular narrative.
I did find the writing somewhat fanfiction-y but I didn’t feel like it was too distracting. However, I can completely understand why it would bug a lot of people the wrong way. Overall though, I really liked Cursed Child. I guess Harry Potter will always have me under a spell ;)
Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors. Her Emma was first published in 1815 and it still remains as one of the most popular classics of all time. The complex story tells of a young girl who overestimates her skills in matchmaking and causes misunderstandings all over her small community. Sounds eerily like modern high school or college. Emma captivates readers of all ages and it’s easy to find yourself engrossed in the realm of love and passion.
The book is named after its lovely and naive main character Emma who has some serious character flaws but who still finds her way to the readers’ hearts. Emma has a distorted image of her matchmaking skills and she tries to bring happiness to her friends (and even more so to herself) by helping them to find “true love”. Unfortunately Emma is probably the last person who should be trying to bring people together: she has no understanding of the way love works, which she proves by successfully convincing her friend Harriet to turn down a proposal from the man she loves. Instead Emma manipulates Harriet into believing that she has feelings for a local vicar. Of course the vicar in return loves Emma instead of Harriet. The book is entirely constructed of similar mishaps through which the reader can only laugh.
The book features a variety of characters: Mr. Knightley (Emma’s brother in-law) has an important role to play in the story and he’s one of the smartest and insightful people found in the novel. He creates a much needed contrast to Emma’s self-centricity as well as to her father’s naivete and the vicar’s ambition. The impact that the men in Emma’s life have on her views of love is interesting to say the least. The diversity of the characters ensures that the reader will have no room for boredom.
The lovely, traditional village of Highbury in Surrey is the perfect setting for discussing serious subjects like women’s station in life, pursuit of love and marriage, as well as financial security and its role in marriage. Jane Austen had a clearly controversial view of women’s role in society; it’s easy to find the hidden themes between the lines but that doesn’t exclude the pure enjoyment that comes from reading this exhilaratingly funny period drama.
I’d personally recommend this book for anyone looking for something witty and romantic to read over the holidays!