I honestly gave JK a blank slate, and latitude to write something completely different, but I was unprepared for such a depressing turn of events from an author who has brought me so much excitement and imagination. This book is not about moving a plot along anywhere, at all. Its all about how people think, feel, and act, and it is nearly enough to make you give up on humanity. Of the enormous multitude of characters that JK painstakingly (and SLOWLY) develops, you find yourself hesitant, at least for the first 2/3 of the book, to be rooting for any of these characters (who we are secretly afraid might have been meant to represent one of US), let alone hoping to find a hero among them.
The dark grittiness of the book was relentless. The intentionally crafted superficial, self-absorbed shallowness of most of the characters was disheartening and depressing. I'm not saying it wasn't very well written, or maybe a realistic look at the human condition, though I hate entertaining that thought. I have to admit, I couldn't put aside my subconscious expectation that JK would give us SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE along the line to really rally behind, that there should be something in the story that was bright and inspiring, even an injustice to right, that would gain momentum and build the reader up. Instead, every potentially positive or motivating aspect of the story was dirtied and marred by the narrow-minded, the vengeful, the selfish, or the ignorant actions of characters. The triumphs that are won along the way are important, but almost never the kind of clear victory you can cheer for, always being overshaddowed by the much greater, invasive and persistent losses.
JK has clearly made this Adult-Fiction by weaving all of the dirtiest kinds of adult material through the story, yet, the most likeable characters, flawed though they may be, were the teens. She did a remarkable job of typifying the teens into the most the different typical teenage stereotypes, then winding the unlikely lot together. Despite the offensive types of adult content (the junkie prostitue mother, rape, physical and psychologic abuse), it's a book I'd endorse my older teenagers read, as it is very insightful to the psychological etiologies of the "bad girl", the depressive-cutter, the disadvantaged, the abused, the cool, as well as the sometimes atrocious conditions and situation that seeming normal teens endure and evolve from. If you are appalled at the thought that I would want any teens to read this, the OLDER teens I have in mind know enough about such things from TV, movies, and unfortunately, High-School; I'm not suggesting thrusting such material onto naïve kids. I think one of the best illustrated points of this book is many teens know, or pursue, far more about adult subjects than their parents would care to admit.
- Very well written, but a slow moving story about human beings and their multitude of faults.
- A tragedy, more than a drama or black comedy, in my mind, for it's overall depressing nature. Though black comedy peeks through, I would qualify that as occasional relief, rather than the genre.
- The main inspiration gathered from this book is how NOT to be, an important, but slowly and painfully delivered message.
JK, I do love you, but please, oh PLEASE, give us something to cheer for next time.
Couldn't stomach it past the first chapter.
Turn down the job
Now I feel better. That's the first book I've disliked
Yes, because I wanted to know how she would write an "adult" novel.
The beginning was a little hard to follow the introduction of characters.
Not sure really. I just can't sit down and read a book with my busy schedule so I prefer to read through listening.
No, the characters purposes I think we're filled completely.
It's a good book where the central theme is, again, around the children that we learned to care about as the main characters. The adults were very much either very regular, with regular problems and concerns, or overly dramatic like the "real housewives", whom I could not give two hoots about. How the children intertwined and manipulated the adult stories was the lasting effect of the book on me.
The writing is very good, which was what we expected. The reader was good, but somehow I expected a woman reader. The subject matter was extremely depressing (especially if you work in the field). The plot was predictible. The language bothered me after a while, but that part was quite realistic. There are no happy endings at all. I had to force myself to finish it. The only reason I did finish it was because I had paid for it. I would recommend that you borrow this book first. If you like this subject matter, then buy it. I would read another book from this author if the story line is more uplifting. I don't know if I would listen to another book from this reader.
No, I have not listened to any of his other performances.
Not really! Some humor would need to be injected into such heavy material. Most people I know want to escape from real life and enjoy material of a lighter nature.
Don't think it is for anyone. Save your money.
Maybe I expected too much, but this was a big disappointment. I couldn't bring myself to care about anyone in the book.
I'd cut the whole book. I made myself finish it thinking it would get better, but no luck there.
a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.
Gesh...I don't write bad reviews much...and only two books in the post five years have I had problems finishing...but this book reads like an extended length upstairs-downstairs...like a 12 hour version with the plot and text from the 30 version. It is a meandering boring tale that I think could have been over in less than five pages of text. It is a real shame the author can produce a good product and the narrator of the audio version is really good...there is just no story here justifying all the text. I would recommend skipping this one.
Hmmm...I'd start with, a plot. A main character, a buildup, a resolution...Anything?
Yes of course I would.
There were over TWENTY characters in the book. If you have a favorite, I think you have some screws loose. Every character was mentally tortured and vile...Except the three-year old, which was too tragic to consider him a favorable character. I feel like this book was a test to the reader to see how much character disgust you could endur before you put it down. I finished, but I certainly didn't want to. Tom Hollander did a great job. Sorry, I got a little off-topic.
All of them. I don't know. Maybe stirring up so much hatred in me means the book accomplished something. I finished it feeling like I'm going to have nightmares about the characters.
I honestly do not recommend this book to anyone emotional (I am, obviously). It was mostly boring and quite unenjoyable.
This book sounded as though it would mix humor with small town lives and small town minds. It turned out to be dark and humorless with sad children and pathetic grown-ups. Now that I think about it, not that different from Harry Potter in that instead of being a cast of fearful characters fighting a villain, it is a cast of miserable characters who are villains in their own right.
Eventually (eventually) I came to be interested in how the story might end, to be curious about how the intermingled relationships of Pagford might develop. You do come to live in the world that J.K. Rowling created.
The story is full of miserable characters extolling their miserable thoughts chapter by chapter. It is mostly boring, though occasionally insightful into the human experience. I needed someone to root for, and was unable to find that character.
Very slow to get to any plot of interest :(
Yes, would not listen to another adult JK Rowling book
Perfomrance was fine