Monday, 29 June 2015

"The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling

   This is the first choice of book for a new book club starting in a branch of our library system.  I am anxious to support the new group and I was interested in what Rowling is writing for adults.  So I jumped into this long book.

   The Casual Vacancy takes place in Pagford, England, where a parish councilman Barry Fairbrother dies of an aneurysm, leaving an opening on the council, at a  time when the council is trying to get rid of "The Fields", a neighbourhood of undesirables. The whole town is involved in great controversy about filling Barry's place on the council.
   After I finished reading this book, I read many reviews online to see what other readers thought.  It seems that there is a great variety of opinions.  Here is one:  "This book is a spot-on, scathing evisceration of smalltown politics, social goings-on, and society in general."
   There are many people who loved this book and thought it was great literature, but I was not one of them.  As the heading on my blog says, I always have an opinion and it isn't always the popular opinion.  So these were the problems that I had with the book.

1.) There were too many characters.  And not one of those characters was likeable. I enjoy a variety of characters- the good and the bad, but there was not one person whose motives were good.  And the language, oh, the language!
2.) The topics of this book are domestic violence, rape, drug use, mental illness, infidelity, teenage sex.  Not only were the teenagers out of control, but nearly all the parents were self-centered, abusive and cruel.
3.) There were long sections that were in parenthesis- sometimes a few pages. At times, this happened in the middle of a conversation and it was confusing.
4.) The main plot, to fill a vacancy on the council, seemed very boring.
5.) This novel seems to be the antithesis of the Harry Potter series. It paints a world without magic, without a hero, without hope.
  I am aware that this type of book depresses me- complete dysfunction! There are books like this that focus on teenagers, such as "Catcher in the Rye".  But this book I would compare to "The Slap", because there are many adults in this book who hate everyone and live to irritate them.  It is one l-o-n-g Jerry Springer show!

And soon I will attend the book club and try to open my mind to what others saw in the novel.

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