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Thursday, May 6, 2010

The cat people

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Chapter 1

I have no idea what I'm getting into by beginning this summer-long foray into the world of Harry Potter. No one is more mugglish than I.

I have avoided reading J.K. Rowling's best-selling series on the boy wizard. I have found something else to do when one of the movies was playing on our DVD player. No reason other than I'm just into different things. I spent 22 years in sports journalism, and now I teach journalism at my alma mater, Cedarville University. I read good manly fiction like Louis L'Amour and John Grisham. But mostly I read a lot of nonfiction like most journalists.

These are kids books, right. I didn't expect the creepy quotient to be high. But what do I find on page 2? A cat.

Nothing creeps me out more than cats. This cat is just like every other cat I've crossed paths with.

When I was about Harry Potter's age, we stayed with some friends who had a three-story Victorian house that could have been on Privet Drive. They had a black cat named Simon. Everywhere I explored in that glorious home, the cat was there.

Simon sat and stared at me just like that cat sat and stared at Mr. Dursley. I know from Chapter 2 that Vernon Dursley is not a likable chum, but I found myself identifying with him in Chapter 1.

I know how unnerved Dursley must have felt went he got home from work and saw that same tabby with staritis. I would have said "Shoo" as well. Any cat that's ever wandered into my yard has heard me say that or "Scat" and clap my hands.

Dursley might not have pondered what that cat was thinking. But I know. I know they sit there and think that I am stupid and that as soon as I turn my back they will do what they've always wanted to do to me: attack me and scratch my eyes out.

I can't help my feline phobia, so I was relieved when the cat became a professor. Of course, now I will look at cats and wonder who they really are.

I'm not sure I'm any better off.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Chapter 2

I began Chapter 2 with great expectations of no more cats. After learning that Harry has to live most of his days in a cupboard under the stairs, I'm glad I'm not claustrophobic.

And I'm glad I don't know anyone named Vernon, Petunia or Dudley. What an awful lot this bunch is. Harry is already a hero. No matter what he does the rest of the summer, he will get the benefit of the doubt.

It's very clever of the author to make us like Harry from the start. How can you be against an orphan who has to grow up in such dysfunction. They are afraid of him, so they treat him like a leper. I don't think I will grow to like the Dursley clan.

Maybe they were cats in a previous life.


  1. I laughed so hard, my head started to ache. Guess because I know you so well. Of course, I always considered our cat my sister when I was growing up. Think there might be something in that after all? :)

  2. I was there when that cat (Simon) stared at you actually it was us, we were sharing a bedroom as I remember, I think it might have been sitting in the closet at one point, and he was black to boot.

  3. Cheryl, see how traumatized I was. I don't even remember you being in the room.