The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling
I am catching up on my book notes. I’ve read a number of books over the last few months, but I haven’t kept up with my reviews, so I’ll try and start getting them done! (‘Cause I know y’all are anxiously awaiting each one, right?)
Okay, so first off, I have to tell you that prior to this book I have not read any books by J.K. Rowling. I know that I am probably the only person in the known universe who hasn’t read at least one of the Harry Potter books – but I’ll admit it, it’s me. I really should pick them up from the Strathmore Library sometime soon, can probably even get them as an e-book, but funny, I just haven’t read one yet.
And my appreciation to J.K. Rowling for writing books that encouraged millions and millions of people (children and grown-ups alike) to read and read BIG books. I have heard stories of grown-up friends of mine arguing with their spouses over who gets to read the new Harry Potter book first!
So I thought to myself, I’m going to start with Ms. Rowling’s newest book when it comes out! I pre-ordered it from Chapters, and the day it arrived (which was a couple of months ago) I started to read it.
The premise of the book is a small fictional town called Pagford, where an influential councillor suddenly dies, and his replacement could completely change the overall opinion of the local parish. Sounds like some good political intrigue (one of my likes), sounds like a mystery (another one of my likes).
The story weaves and winds around a number of individuals and families in this small town, and how their lives become intertwined with each other, and very complex stories emerge about each person. Really it isn’t until you are quite through at last half of the book before you start to see how they all fit in the puzzle together. There is some great character development in this book. You really get to know the characters very well, and they are varied for sure! Even a couple of teenagers are part of the story as well as what you may call seniors, and you get to know them all. J.K. Rowlings does a superb job of helping you get to know the people, and be curious about what will happen next. I especially enjoyed the pieces where the characters are speaking in their local “english” and learning to interpret what they are saying was quite challenging and fun! After a while you could pick it up – I suspect I was speaking funny for quite some time after reading this book, and likely my family was wondering about me.
However that’s about it for good stuff. The language in the book is atrocious. The author suggests that many of the characters can’t speak more than a few words without swearing. Additionally there are descriptions of acts/activities that leave nothing to the imagination, and really don’t add anything to the story. There were times when I was literally sick to my stomach reading portions of this, and frankly, I would have just put it down, but it doesn’t seem right to only partially finish the book.
I think J.K. Rowling is a very creative person, and has some really neat writing techniques – but I can’t think of a single person that I would recommend this book to. I don’t really even want to have it in my house, but I can’t give it away either – as that would make the receiver think I was recommending the book. I am at a loss. It will likely show up in the Take it or Leave it pile at the Recycle facility.
If you are thinking of buying this book, or borrowing it to read – don’t. It’s not worth the time you will invest in it, and afterwards you will feel dirty for reading it.
If the author could have kept away from the horrendous language, and the graphic depictions of activities and thought processes that are really outrageous, then it probably would have been a good book.
Too bad I wasted the Chapters card in purchasing it.