Well reader, I’ve finished listening to JK Rowling’s latest, and I liked it.
I read only one review before I read it and saw JK interviewed by Jennifer Byrne. I loved the Harry Potter series, but have always thought that JK Rowling seemed a bit of a miserable sort. I’m not saying that more cheerful interviews don’t exist, but every interview I’ve seen she seems fairly negative and a bit sour.
The Jennifer Byrne interview was the only one I’ve seen where she seems the tiniest bit happy about anything. Jennifer Byrne looked like she was working hard to lift the mood of the discussion and didn’t really ever succeed. Even when JK was speaking of happy things like her kids, she looked like she could easily break into a moan about something. As I said, maybe it’s just the interviews I’ve seen and others portray her differently.
I think “The Casual Vacancy” fits her demeanour. Jennifer Byrne described it as dark. I thought it as raw and miserable, a bit “East Enders”. The ending was forgettable, literally forgettable, I had to go back the next day and re-listen as I couldn’t remember how it ended. I think that’s telling, perhaps it was just me, but I felt that the book didn’t end in the right spot.
It kind of reminded me of Martina Cole’s style, for anyone who hasn’t read her books, they are very much focused on the grimy side of life. I did enjoy the way she made the characters come to life and I could certainly empathise with them, from the rough Krystal to the resentful Mary. It’s all about the people and how they react to each other.
I spent the first half of the book waiting to see what they were on about, then when I realised what was motivating the dynamics, it lost momentum for me. The most memorable scene for me was when self mutilating teen, Sukhvinder described a memory of Krystal and a rowing competition. I think if all the book had been written along a similar vein, it would still have shown the hardship and misery, without leaving a feeling of hopelessness.
The book isn’t a light hearted romp and if JK was trying to get as far away from Harry as possible, she succeeded. Having said all that, I thought it was ok, I liked it, I didn’t love it and I wouldn’t read it again. But it’s not terrible. I would recommend it, if only out of curiosity to see what JK does to get away from Harry Potter.
Dave on the other hands hated it, he liked “Fifty Shades of Grey” better, and said Fifty Shades was a better story and well written in comparison. LOL I can’t comment as I’ve not listened to or read Fifty Shades.