Monday, October 15, 2012

It's like a village full of Dursleys!

The Casual Vacancy
J.K. Rowling
512 pp.
35.00 list price
20.90 Amazon price

*** 1/2
(1/2 star awarded for knocking Fifty Shades of Grey from the top of the New York Times bestseller list, though it only retained the spot for one week.)

Bevin: Did you get it from the library yet?
Ari: I pick it up tonight.

Bevin: I love it and I hate it. I wonder what her thought process is in writing this! Not a single likeable character!
Ari: I know, and so trashy too.
Heather: Sticks her fingers in her ears to keep from being spoilered.
Ari: I expect ***** to die of a giant coronary and that poor ***** girl who cuts to kill herself.

Bevin: I am waiting for something good to happen. Where are you?
Ari: 391
Bevin: Way ahead of me. No spoilers.
Ari: Stares at Bevin all afternoon conspiratorially.
Bevin: Stop Looking at me!

Ari: I'm finished.
Bevin: That was fast. No Spoilers!
Ari: All heck breaks loose.

I was extremely apprehensive upon hearing that an adult book was about to be published by J.K. Rowling. I felt that a J.K. book without magic was like birthday cake with no icing. Well, I read it, and I gutted through it, and I am glad for the experience. I found the book acceptable but trashy. In the wake of Barry Fairbrother's death all heck breaks loose politically in the tiny town of Pagford. I did not find any of the adults likable and the teenagers are absolutely atrocious. The behavior of adults and teens alike within the book is appalling. You have every one of the seven deadly sins in here, plus rape, neglect, drug abuse, self harm, bullying....I am pretty sure I have not named all the atrocities within.

"Shaven vulvas, pink labia pulled wide to show darkly gaping slits; Spread buttocks revealing the puckered buttons of of anuses; Thickly lipsticked mouths, dripping semen."

"A great apron of stomach fell so far down in front of his thighs that most people thought instantly of his penis when they first clapped eyes on him, wondering when he had last seen it, how he washed it, how he managed to perform any of the acts for which a penis is designed"

Ms. Rowling's first novel for grownups is peppered with passages such as the ones above, these make  the reader feel as if J.K. is trying way too hard to write for adults. You don't need to have utter filth in a book for grownups. It is like a few Amazon reviewers have said, "It's like the squeaky clean child star who grows up to make a sex tape". Despite all the books shortcomings, it is still a satisfying read, a multi layered story that only Jo could write, but I will not be re reading this one.

If you want to save yourself the cash and a few weeks waitlist at the library, check out this spoilerific article at The Huffington Post. The New York Times review was brutal.

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