Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Publisher's description:
When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
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I really didn't begin reading The Casual Vacancy expecting Harry Potter, or anything like Harry Potter. I didn't expect any magic or a fantasy world. I didn't expect that the novel would be written for young adults and/or appropriate for children. I fully expected something deeper, richer, even darker (as I had been warned) from Rowling.

I did however, expect better storytelling, better developed characters and in general, better writing. I refuse to believe that J.K. Rowling is limited to the YA genre, but The Casual Vacancy doesn't inspire much confidence.

It's almost as if Rowling turned around and said, "What can I write about that is entirely the OPPOSITE of what I've been writing about? What will shock the world and make them realize I'm not just a children's writer? Let's make this a character study, then lets throw in rape, cutting, suicide, adultery, drug use, lying, child abuse, dying children, overtures of incest and poverty."

It was just... too much. I was so tired of trying to care about the characters that by the end of the book I would have been thrilled however it ended, no matter how miserable they were. It was exhausting even to try to enjoy the last section of the book.

Biggest literary disappointment recently, hands down.

14 comments:

  1. I'm sorry this one was disappointing! I actually really liked it, but I think I am well in the minority on that opinion. Despite the dark characters, I could see some of Rowling's over-the-top descriptions and writing style, which I liked. But, to each reader his/her own!

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    1. That's very true! I do think she stayed true to her writing style, even though it's in a different genre and that's admirable in any author.

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  2. It's so disappointing to see all the meh reviews on this one! I was so excited for it and I never even read it because really everyone feels utterly underwhelmed. Maybe HP was her one hit wonder.

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    1. Or seven hit wonder - haha. I think she has a phenomenal imagination and would love to see it come out more!

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  3. I have been seeing a lot of mixed reviews on this one. I am still going to read it and see what Jo had to say. I'm sorry you didn't like this one.

    Sara @ Just Another Story

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    1. Definitely read it and make up your own mind! It may be more your style than mine, plus it's always interesting to get to know authors by reading all of their writing.

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  4. :( Sorry to hear that. I still haven't read 'The Casual Vacancy', but it's been on my TBR for a while. One thing I really admire about JK Rowling's writing is her attention to detail and amazing ability to plot. Sounds like this one missed the mark. Sometimes the darker topics add to a story, and sometimes the just feel thrown in for shock value.

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    1. I think her attention to detail may have taken away a little bit from the story in this context, where it adds so much in fantasy. She's still a fantastic writer in my eyes though.

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  5. I haven't read this yet and I already think when I do, I won't like it. Still going to read it though, I really need to experience it for myself and give it a chance.

    We all love JK so much, its disappointing that this book and fallen flat with so many :(

    Thanks for your comment on my blog, following you now!

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  6. PS - your blog has a great header and name :)

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    1. Thanks of the follow and the compliment! I designed it myself and have NO idea what I'm doing so that really means a lot to me!

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  7. Eek! I bought this book a month or so ago and it's been sitting on my book pile with other books to be read, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I wonder if that's a good thing after reading your review?

    I'll have to read it over the summer and see if I get the same feel as you. It's always sad when you expect so much from an author and they don't meet those expectations!

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    1. Definitely make up your own mind - I know I'm not alone but there are plenty of people who did like it too!

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  8. This book certainly isn't for everyone, but I did enjoy it. I agree there is a lot going on, but I didn't find it to be too much. This isn't a book I'll want to read a million times like HP, but I am definitely glad I read it.

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