Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Starting at the end.

Jacob has library on Wednesdays. I get excited to see what he chose each week. Last week, I picked up his book bag to check his homework and very nearly strained a muscle. "What on earth is in here?" I asked. Jake came flying back into the room to snatch the bag out of my hand. The heavy bag swung from the momentum and very nearly spun Jake in a circle. He ripped it open, pulled out a huge tome, and held it up with straining muscles for my approval.

"It's Harry Potter!"

"Yes it is! It's the last one, though. Don't you think we should start with the first?" I replied.

"No! I want to read this one!"

"Well, I don't know that we can read this in a week. Grandma has all the books. Why don't we just..."

"No! It's ok! Mrs. Z said that I can just keep checking it out until I get it all read. I'll just keep checking it out and checking it out." With that, I was out of arguments.

But I really, really didn't want to start with the last book. I haven't read any of the Harry Potter books yet. I wasn't particularly interested in reading a children's series for myself when the Harry Potter buzz first started. Then my mother-in-law started buying all of the books for Jacob. That annoyed me, so I determined that I would read the books to Jacob when he came of age. Grandma could give Jacob the books, but I would read them to him. (In the interests of full disclosure, I should probably reveal that Grandma intended all along for Nick and I to share the books with Jacob. I can be fairly petty sometimes when it comes to my mother-in-law.) I've been waiting all these years, avoiding the movies, the books, and discussion of the books among my friends, so that I could have a fresh reading when Jake was ready. And now, he's ready but he's starting at the end. I can only laugh because I am well-known for reading books - especially whodunits - out of order. I read the first few chapters, skip to the end and read the last few pages backwards, than resume reading in a normal manner.

We're on chapter five and we're both enjoying it. It's a little confusing here and there because we don't really know the major players or the rules of Harry's world. Jake keeps asking me questions about the story. I'm not above a snippy reply, "We'd know that if we started at the beginning, wouldn't we?" But I've already peeked at the last few pages. It appears that Ms. Rowling was ready for readers like me, though, since the last few pages seem to be an epilogue of sorts. I think that is profoundly unfair. If Jake is going to make me start at the end of the series, I should at least be able to quickly find the end of the story. Harumph.


Katie Alender said...

Oh, how funny. Just be aware that it gets pretty dark at some points.

Mary Witzl said...

One thing is for certain: your kids can foil your best-laid plans better than anyone else in the world. I speak from experience.

You're a brave woman for admitting what you do with books. I do this too! Sometimes I am just desperate to know if a character I particularly admire or like is going to make it to the end. I feel that if I am prepared for the death of this character, it won't be so bad. Thus I skip to the end and, when assured of a happy ending, am able to read the rest of the book with a less heavy heart. Crazy, but true.

My kids read all of C. S. Lewis's books out of sequence, as I recall. It is irritating, but you still get there in the end! And it makes for a good story, too.

Christy said...

Plans are officially foiled again. He took the book back to the library yesterday and checked out a SpongeBob book. I just stood in the living room and blinked. I KNOW that someone died in the chapter we were reading (it's called Fallen Soldier - pretty big hint!) but I don't know who. And even if I did know who, it wouldn't mean anything to me anyway because I haven't read the rest of the series. I'm all twisted over nothing here, and I don't like it. I was *this* close to telling Jake that quitters never win and winners never quit. Then reality hit and I stopped blinking and had a glass of wine instead. But still! He quit the book! Argh!