The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Well. That was painful.
I expected more of arguably the most famous female author of all time. I wasn't looking for Harry Potter: The Grown Up Years, or anything even remotely close. I went in, suspending my expectations as well as can be reasonably expected.
And then I fell 35,000 feet back to earth.
What was Rowling THINKING?! First, too many characters, which, as they are all "real life" characters, they're all pretty much exactly the same. I still can't tell the difference between Shirley and Samantha, and I got Terri confused 90% of the time because her only descriptions are "that elderly woman" and "her claw-like hand." There were many claw-like hands in this novel, by the way.
On the one (claw like) hand, I was drawn into the people's stories, but then there is no resolution here. Nobody figures out that they're being a turd face. No marriages are fixed, no divorces applied for. Some kids die and people are sad, but most are indifferent. The end.
The only character I cared for was Sukhvinder, and the only reason for that is that she is a cutter (I am a former cutter.) I can say JK Rowling got one thing absolutely right - she's the first person who has ever written about cutting that wasn't making stuff up as she went along. She did a great job there, and actually I was about to quit reading when I happened upon the cutting scene which is what made me keep going and finish the book.
The language is beyond bad. I have been more educated by this book than I was in 4 years of high school. Crap.
I guess if there had been any sort of resolution or conclusion at all, this maybe, possibly almost would have been worth reading. But there was nothing redeeming about it. It was just sad, depressing, and pointless.
I give it two stars - 1 star for the descriptive writing of England because JK is a master at that. And 2 for the cutting scenes because they were well done. Other than that, run away. This book sucks. I am infinitely let down by Ms. Rowling now. I hope she if she's decided to not write YA books, she'll just quit writing period. She's not awesome enough for adult novels, and besides, stick to what you know and do really, really well!
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