For my darling 7-year old stepdaughter, I’m doing something I’ve never done during an entire lifetime of obsessive reading.
I’m waiting for her to grow up so I can finish a book series.
See, together we’ve gotten hooked on Harry Potter. I’m late to the Potter Party. When everyone else was reading the books and standing in line for the first movie showings and putting posters on their walls, I was keeping my distance from the whole phenomenon. First of all, I wanted to make sure J.K. Rowling finished all the books before I got totally addicted. Besides, I grew up with the great British children’s authors like E. Nesbit and C.S. Lewis and didn’t think she could possibly compete (got that one wrong!) And then it became a point of pride --- I was possibly the only person in the English-speaking world who hadn’t read any of the books or seen any of the movies.
Turns out, I was waiting for the perfect moment, which came when the kiddo got into the books. I’ve had the incredible pleasure of reading the first three books out loud to her, experiencing them for the first time along with her. I’ve forced myself to put the book down when it’s time for her to sleep. I’ve exercised gargantuan willpower in not reading ahead. I’ve refused to watch each movie until I’ve finished its book. And I’ve been drawn into this fascinating, intricate, wonderful world of magic the way a child would be, seeing everything through her eyes, feeling her anticipation, her emotions, the immense satisfaction the stories bring.
In Hawaii we finished Book 3, “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” the morning my stepdaughter went back to Alaska. Afterwards, I drove past the library, my fingers itching to swing the steering wheel into the parking lot so I could snatch up Book 4. But I’ve been told it’s a little intense for a nearly 8-year old. So even though I’m a hopeless book addict and usually read through the night if I’m deep into a story, and know I would gobble it up like a binge eater at a buffet, I’m refraining. I’ll wait until she gets a little bit older so we can indulge ourselves together.
So what do you think? Can an eight-year old handle Book 4, “The Goblet of Fire”? She’ll turn eight in two and a half months. I'm fairly sure I can wait that long. Or am I overthinking this? Should we head down to the library this second and check it out? Because I will. Say the word and I’ll be after Book 4 like a Quidditch seeker after the Golden Snitch.
Hey, a Harry Potter reference! That felt good.