Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone  - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry A first time read for me. (Technically not a read but a listen: the audiobook narrated by Stephen Fry). No, I haven't been living under a rock. It's just that after years of telling my Harry Potter fan son, thanks all the same, I really don't want to read any Harry Potter books, I finally succumbed thanks to a GR group. Is it possible that I am the last person in the world to read this book who was over the age of ten when it was first published? Maybe.

My resistance to reading Harry Potter wasn't particularly to do with the hype surrounding it at the beginning or with each successive instalment. It's just that I persuaded myself when I was about ten that I don't like fantasy. That's how old I was when The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe scared me silly. I never fully recovered. Although I sort of did, really, because I went on to read the Narnia Chronicles as an adult and found them perfectly delightful. And it's hard to dislike Alice in Wonderland. However, I still haven't read Tolkien.

Anyway, I'm glad that I finally decided to go along for the ride. I enjoyed this book immensely. I particularly liked the humour. (A giant three-headed dog named Fluffy!!) I liked the satire. I got hooked into the story. I loved Stephen Fry's voices. Now I understand why this book appealed so much to my son.

It is certainly derivative. There's Cinderella, old fashioned boarding school stories, a dose of Star Wars (itself extremely derivative), a touch of Alice in Wonderland - and lots of other influences besides. But the influences work well together. I found the ending slightly unsatisfactory - there appeared to be quite a lot of exposition all done in a bit of a rush - but I wasn't unduly troubled.

All in all, a good read. And my son is saying "I told you so".