I tried to read this book twenty years ago and couldn’t get past the Britishness and childish tone. I only put myself through it now to try and get insight into how Rowling had become so reviled. This was the last clinging vestige of Twitter tar: I only knew about the controversy over Rowling’s stance on transsexuality through the spillover rage that seethed from trending topics and angry quote retweets. Now, a season removed from active engagement on that platform—aside from non-interactive website updates—the whole circus seems little more than an impotent and distant memory.
I listened to Megan Phelps-Roper’s The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling before reading Stone. Did that color my reading? Perhaps, but I was already biased going in, approaching the read like an investigative journalist or psychologist searching for hidden anti trans or antisemitic messages. I found none, but harder-cored analysts with more at stake will tell you that stuff doesn't become evident until later in the series.
What I did find was a silly children’s book that half-tackled bullying and the importance of knowing who you are. I never felt transported to a magical realm of imagination, but that has more to do with me being a 48-year-old cynic than it does the quality of Rowling’s prose. As for my personal feelings on the drama that swirls around the author, I have no comment. Much like anything to do with one’s sexuality, I find such things best left private, and none of anyone’s business.
I doubt I will dig any deeper into this series. I’m too old and there is far more enriching content out there that demands my ever-dwindling time. The eventual HBO series will have to suffice.