There’s really nothing I can say about the Harry Potter book series that most people don’t have some idea about already. With over 500 million copies sold in over 80 languages, the beloved series by J.K. Rowling transfigured countless people into wand-waving, potion-brewing, spell-speaking obsessives and magicked a nonprofit organization, a two-part stage play, and 3 Wizarding World theme parks into being – not to mention far too much fanfiction and cosplaying and hardcore trivia nights to mention.
The year that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released, I was turning 11 years old – which is crazy cool if you know that 11 is the age that young witches and wizards first attend Hogwarts! How fun was that awesome coincidence for me, you ask? It wasn’t fun at all. Because I wasn’t reading the book!
As my schoolmates, cousins, and the world at large were being swept away by the magic, I was keeping my muggle feet firmly planted in reality, thank you very much. I knew there was a book about a boy wizard with circle glasses but – honestly? I couldn’t be bothered. Growing up in dysfunction had turned me into a overly-anxious, micro-adult who didn’t have time to flounder in such trivial and childish pastimes.
I was intense.
In 4th grade, while the other kids were doodling on their notebooks and giggling about crushes, I was reading It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton – I was going to figure out how to parent and then teach them how to do it right! In my teen years, I remember fiercely trying to dig up all the treasures in The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck, M.D. and apply them to my Dad’s life before it was too late. And I became enamored by the proclaimed memoir A Million Little Pieces by James Frey even before Oprah announced it as her Book Club selection. I devoured it and then crazy cried when it ended like it did – like couldn’t breathe, completely traumatized for days on end. (Believe me, I felt just as betrayed as Oprah when it came out that the book wasn’t as much as a memoir as we thought it was originally.)
Point is – I didn’t allow myself much room for fiction at that point in my life – particularly fiction filled with foolish wand-waving and silly incantations. 😉
So how did I get interested in the Harry Potter series? I got stuck on a mountain.
I kid you not. I was visiting family with my then-husband and this family happened to live pretty remotely on top of a mountain. One night, during some wet weather, I ended up watching the first HP movie because you don’t have a lot of group options to pass the time while stuck inside on top of a mountain. I don’t even remember particularly loving the movie but it ignited a teeny little spark in me. I’m pretty sure my inner child (who had basically been ignored since birth) barely squeaked out in curiosity and, for whatever reason, I heard it and started to consider the idea that I could maybe sacrifice some time to read something completely ridiculous.
To be wholeheartedly open with you, my reading list during the year before this had included page-turners such as:
- Unspeakable Losses: Healing from Miscarriage, Abortion, and Other Pregnancy Loss by Kim Kluger-Bell,
- Marriage and Other Acts of Charity by Kate Braestrup,
- Toxic In-Laws: Loving Strategies for Protecting Your Marriage by Susan Forward, &
- Committed: A Love Story by Elizabeth Gilbert
So…to say I was in need of a self-help reading break would be like ripping the definition of “understatement” into 5,000 little pieces, molding them into a paper-mache “Duh!” and then burning it. 🔥🔥🔥
And this led to me doing something unimaginable…I started to read a silly children’s series. You can imagine how befuddled I was when these fictional, silly children’s books and their characters became really relatable and important to me. (Surprise, surprise – because Harry Potter is an ACoA!) The series had enough excitement & magic & friendship to make my inner child over-Neptune’s 14-moons-happy. 🌑 And, as the series went on, enough adversity & courage & connection to inspire even the the most serious chronological adult who was still reacting to the world with her little girl trauma front and center…
I won’t write out my opinions on the Harry Potter series as a whole for you (because I think you already know) but really there’s a bigger point I want to make in this book review. And the point is this: sometimes growing up in dysfunction can make you crave functional living to such an extreme that you forget to have fun – you forget to play.
And I completely understand how stupefying it can be when you realize that you grew up in such disarray and you start to get an idea of the amount of work its going to take to process the heartbreak, heal the wounds, and pass along the hope that it can be done. It can be haaaaarrrrrd. And I don’t want to downplay that at all.
But I also don’t want you to forget that you need rest and interests outside of recovery and – yes – even some silliness sometimes too. It’s an important and OVERLOOKED aspect of the healing journey. Don’t neglect it.
And don’t forget that you do have a little kid version of yourself still inside who wants to let an ice cream cone dribble down your hand. And lay in the grass and decide if clouds look more like elephants or hot air balloons. And watch bubbles blow off of your bubble wand and into the wind. And maybe even read about a boy wizard in a tough family situation who finds people who love him and support him and help him figure out what to do with the darkness within. If that doesn’t resonate with you as an Adult Child of Alcoholics, I don’t know what would.
So, if you’re feeling particularly daring, maybe – just maybe – you could sacrifice some time to take your inner child on a book-trip to the wizarding world like I did. You never know what kind of healing and hope you may find there. ❤️
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If you want to know which Hogwarts House I belong to, go ahead and click here – you’ll find it in the “10 Fun Facts” about me. And please don’t forget to tell me which House you belong to down below!!! It’s a question you just have to expect from a Harry Potter fan. 🤩