Here ya are....
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Let me start by saying JK Rowling is one of my author heroes. She is a talented writer, a top-notch storyteller, and a wise, creative woman. Her publishing team (and the author herself) did an excellent job of communicating this book for adults was not Harry Potter.
I knew I wasn't signing on to read about Harry, Hermione and Ron. But I thought I was signing on for Rowling's amazing storytelling, her uncanny ability to create characters you either love or love to hate, her talent for wrapping her readers in an entirely different world, with a generous dose of British humor.
You get none of this in The Casual Vacancy. I struggled to find a character in this book (and there are a LOT of characters in this book) that I liked or rooted for. Even the social worker who's trying desperately to help a family in serious crisis is a "meh" character. I pitied nearly everyone in the book, but still failed to find redeeming (enough) qualities to really make me like them, and I am fairly easy to please in this category.
The plot is so slow I frequently set aside the book to do other things, like the dishes and laundry and other tedious, dreaded tasks. This, my friends, is not the sign of a arresting plot. I can plow through a book with a great story line in a day. It took me 5 or 6 days to get through this book. Eternal.
To top it off, the end of the book is sad, and not in a good way. Not in a redeeming "this is sad, but look at the good that came from it" or a "I'm going to do something about this!" kind of way, just depressing.
Would this book be a bestseller if not for the author? Definitely not. Do I hope now that Rowling has gotten this "agenda" book off her plate, she will come out with another book for grownups with an eye toward the captivating, entertaining storytelling she does so well?
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