**Spoiler Alert!** (Have always wanted to write that, haha)
After what feels like a life-time, last week I finally finished reading “A Casual Vacancy” by JK Rowling. Seriously, it took me FOREVER! Which is totally unusual for me. Once I get into a book, I devour it and could happily wile away the hours reading. Which, I think, is part of the problem here – I never really got into this one. Sure, there were points where I was all “ooh, what happens next?!”, disappointed that my lunch break had ended; but those moments were few and far between (and let’s be honest, it was probably more to do with the fact that I couldn’t be bothered going back to work, than I wanted to keep reading). Mostly I only read this book so I could finish it and move on to the next one on my list (a gripping Tasmina Perry chick lit, and don’t even look at me with those judgy eyes – Tasmina has not let me down yet!) Look, I didn’t hate this book, but I just didn’t really like it. I am allowed to say that right?!
I am a huge JK Rowling fan, having read all Harry Potter books multiple times over and loving every second of them! The way JK can draw me in and keep me hooked for seven entire books is an amazing skill – and I totally respect and admire her as a writer. There wasn’t one book I didn’t enjoy, not one moment that I wished for it all to end. Heck, if she said she was going to write an eighth, I’d be first in line to grab a copy! And I know I’ll totally read them all again and again.
But, I knew going into this that Casual Vacay (bear with me, I totally call it this in my head) was an adult book, set in “the real world” and nothing like Harry Potter; so I wasn’t expecting wizards, magic and teenage angst. Instead I was expecting a bit of drama and politics, spoken in a much older voice. What I feel like I got, were too many characters; a bunch of story-lines that didn’t really flow or explain themselves; adult angst and a doozy ending. Also, many of the characters were teenagers, but not likeable ones. In this case, it most certainly wasn’t me, it was her.
Don’t get me wrong, all-in-all it was okay – I like how she changed character voice often, but still kept each one intact and consistent, and some of them had decent back-stories, which I found interesting. I also liked “The_Ghost_of_Barry_Fairbrother” parts and enjoyed reading the chaos that ensued after each post. However, most of the characters made me mad at one point or another, and all the talk about The Fields vs Pagford just annoyed me. I was bored by the politics and bored by the older characters in this book.
If I had read the back of the book and didn’t know who the author was, I wouldn’t have read it at all. I know you’re not meant to judge a book by it’s cover, but in the words of Shania Twain, “that don’t impress me much!”. I only read it to begin with because JK had written it. I only finished reading it, partly because I did want to know what happened, but mostly because I don’t like leaving a book unfinished – it feels wrong to me!
I would totally give JK another chance when/if she writes another book, because I know how amazing she is, but this one really didn’t do anything for me. It left me feeling a bit angsty and empty, and not wanting more at all.
I hope she writes more books, really I do, but I just feel like this one wasn’t for me.