A Stupid Mess

Why you shouldn't waste your time reading The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling:

1. The characters are one-dimensional and uninteresting. I think part of the problem was that Rowling tried to include too many and wasn't able to go far enough into depth.

2. The plot is flat, which would be bearable if there was something to make up for it, which there is not. A town clamoring for a local government position, all the while revealing secrets about one another has potential, but the execution is downright boring.

3. Speaking of secrets, the scandals that result aren't really that appalling, nor are the responses of the townspeople. 

4. There are too many subplots, that, again, aren't done well. There's the overall political line, than one for each of the dozen or so characters. They all overlap and some end up just getting lost in the shuffle. 

5. The end is contrived and melodramatic. It's ridiculous.

6. It's far longer than it should be. Rowling should have worked on tightening up her storyline, concentrating on a few characters, and chopping off a hundred and fifty pages (it's just over 500). 

7. The "naughty" parts (masturbation, sex, drinking, and drug use) are so terribly PG. I felt as if she felt obligated to include more adult aspects, but was a little unsure about how to write them.

8. The social and political messages (people not having a say in government, the poor being misunderstood, communities not working for a common good) are there, but not inspirational. She could have taken a much better stance. 

I wanted to like this, despite the fact that I had little hope. It took my over ten days to read- I had no desire to pick up the book to keep going. If you really need a Rowling fix revisit the Harry Potter series.


  1. When I was traveling this year, I visited MANY bookshops in many countries, and this book was just EVERYWHERE - often translated. I couldn't help but think that the publishers had counted unhatched chickens. And reading your post, I'm glad I haven't read the book.

  2. (Sorry if this double posted somehow...) I am glad you didn't like this one at all, I didn't enjoy this - not even a little bit.

  3. So, I kept looking at this and wanting to pick it up if, for anything, to see what the hype was all about, but something just kept me from bringing it to the till. Now, I am super happy that I saved the 20 bucks it would have cost me. Thanks lady for the review.