I did it! I actually did it! I managed to read J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy in one week! I feel very proud of myself and think I deserve a cream doughnut for all my hard work. Let’s hope I can keep going with this book challenge. I have snugly slipped back into a book routine and am reading all over the place, kitchen, in bed, even in the bath. I used to read in the bath a lot and I have not once got a book wet or dropped it. Ah stop rambling Emma and get on with the review!
What to make of The Casual Vacancy. Hmmm.. Well, I’m not really sure where to start. It’s J.K so I had really high expectations for it, which is maybe why I felt so disappointed when I finished the last sentence. I knew that it was never going to live up to Harry Potter, but I thought it would have something to give, some spark or sprinkle of magic that drew me into the story and made me feel emotionally attached to these characters. But I got nothing; I was left standing in the rain with no umbrella at a bus stop waiting for a bus that would never arrive and kept double checking I was indeed at the right bus stop. I even started looking for Totoro!
The story takes place in a little village called Pagford where the death of the Parish Councillor Barry Fairbrother is the talk of the town and who will be next in line for the job. Not the most fascinating story in the world, there are a few scenarios thrown in with family feuds and relationships clinging on for dear life for survival but there is nothing remotely interesting about this story. It’s as weak as dishwater and makes you wonder why you are torturing yourself with this dull tosh, watching paint dry would be more intriguing.
The themes are dark and depressing, drugs, sex, death and even rape scenes make it uncomfortable to read. I wanted to shout out “What are you doing J.K! This is so very wrong!” It made me feel dirty just reading certain bits of it, I wanted to scrub my skin clean and wash away the filth.
I’m not quite sure how I managed to finish reading it to be honest with you as the story was flat and just jumped back and forth to the different families where nothing positive seemed to happen. So much doom and gloom. Realistic in the sense of that’s real life but when I read a book, much like watching a film, I hope to escape reality for a few hours and go somewhere where I don’t have to worry about my problems. I don’t want to be caught up in social affairs of a parish councils and junkies who can’t look after their kids. Surely there’s enough of that in the news these days?
One thing J.K does do well is detail. I love how she describes the world around her and can come up with a range of different characters, just a shame they didn’t have interesting stories. As a writer myself; I can appreciate what J.K has tried to do, she has tried to make as much difference between this book and the Harry Potters. She wants to show people she can write other things, more adult and dramatic things. Unfortunately it just makes for a bad story and a disappointed fan left wondering why they just put themselves through those 503 pages.
I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone to be honest. It’s dull, depressing and just makes you want to use it as a door stop or fuel for the fireplace by the time you’ve finished reading it. Sorry J.K, you just didn’t do it this time for me but good on you for doing something different to Harry Potter.
Next book to read is one by one of my favourite authors, Kim Harrison, Ever After! Can’t wait! It’s the 11th book in the series, my husband got me into them and I love him ever more for it! I definitely need something good to read after that car crash.
Now, time for that cream doughnut!