I might not have written a review, but the ratings for Overall and Story happened through a glitch in my computer while downloading and I don't want to leave the wrong impression. While the performance by Tom Hollander deserves five stars, this is a two star story for me.
I approached this book with nothing but good will for Rowling and an expectation that this would be unlike Harry Potter. What the lame publisher's summary and the pre-publicity didn't say was that it contained significant sexual content and explicit language. It also didn't indicate just how depressing and bleak the story would be.
The problem is that this is the kind of story I usually avoid at all costs. I find no enjoyment in vicariously suffering with others. There isn't a single individual in the story for whom I found a true sympathy--sympathy in the sense of making a connection and pulling for them rather than feeling sorry for them. I read books for enjoyment, entertainment, to learn, to be uplifted, or even to escape. My life contains enough stressors of its own not to need to find more of them in my reading material. I am not entertained by the misery of others . Perhaps as a school psychologist I am more aware on an everyday basis of the various conditions of life described in this book, and need no primer on poverty, drugs, violence, sexual assault, child abuse, bullying, poverty, neglect, weakness, and self-absorbtion of others. I certainly don't desire to fill my off hours wallowing in such miseries.
The two stars I would have given the story are for its being well-written--for what it is, rather than what I wished it to be--and the clear-cut characterizations. I don't think I would want to actually meet any of these people, but I did feel I had a clear view of who they were.
I wish the publicity had been a little less coy about revealing the true tone of this work so that I might have been more prepared. This sort of story simply isn't my cup of tea and I will be far less likely to buy a book by J. K. Rowling in the future. I had hoped to like this book and had been willing to accept something completely different from the author of Harry Potter, but this is outside my ability to enjoy. If this is what Rowling feels the need to write, she's perfectly entitled to do so. I'll exercise my right and not read it. Perhaps her future books will be less grim, but it will take a lot of convincing before I try another one.
The narrator was the only "good" thing about this book. It was boring from the start. I got to Chapter 10 and gave up. If it wasn't written by JK Rowling, I don't think it would have been published.
I can't say it was a bad book. It was in fact very well written. The characters were exceptionally vivid and memorable. However-- I hated it.
Maybe if it had been written under a pseudonym and assigned to me in literature class... yes, I knew it wasn't a Harry Potter book, but it was still a huge disappointment. Pitiful small-minded small-town English Muggles spending 18 dreadfully dull hours showing how pitiful, small-minded, and small-town they all are, with a terribly depressing ending to top it all off... it was NOT what I wanted. I found myself wishing that Voldemort would come along and eat the lot of them.
This book is very sad. It put me in a bad mood all week. I would not recommend it to anyone.
I was extremely disappointed in J.D.Rowling. As a Harry Potter fan I expected more from her. Very hard book to finish.
I'm not sure who would enjoy this book; I expected so much more than what I got.
The story line rambled on and on and on.. way to much over use of the F word-- Quiet ridiculous in fact.
The narration was fine.. but the story was never ending.
Disappointment.. a total waste of a credit.
Don't waste your time on this one.
Reading is one of life's greatest pleasures...and, now that I've found audiobooks, I can read even while performing mundane tasks!
If you're a Harry Potter fan, then you'll understand when I say that reading "The Casual Vacancy" is like reading a novel set entirely in Little Whinging. If you haven't read the Potter books, suffice it to say that throughout this listen I felt as if I were driving by a tragic car wreck...and just couldn't look away. The characters are real and flawed. The story is dark and raw. The plot twists kept me guessing. I didn't particularly love any of the characters, and yet I was drawn to them, and I wanted to know how things would turn out for them. But there was no relief from the meanness and pettiness of ordinary life in a small town like one finds in the Potter books, no Hagrid or Dumbledore popping in to whisk us away to the world of magic and adventure. Not that I was expecting that. I knew what I was getting myself into. But I couldn't help wishing for such a thing throughout the listen. Still, I resonated with the social commentary, and I found J. K. Rowling's writing to be just as satisfying as I always have. The narration was highly enjoyable. Tom Hollander did a great job of portraying each character with a distinct voice.
I desperately wish to give this novel 5 stars. I enjoyed JK Rowling's Harry Potter series for the brilliant plot, character development, resolution etc. And I would rank JK Rowling as the most brilliant author of our time. Yet this novel is the exact opposite. Poor plot layout. Horrific character development. Potently graphic (without purpose) and extremely disturbing subject matter. I thought the book would never come to an end. In all fairness there was some resolution at the very end but still did not satisfy. I just hope that JK Rowling doesn't have as negative of a view of this world as portrayed in this novel. I am so very disappointed.
The story is writen from different characters point of view which I usually like. This book however bounces from boring character to character and it is hard to keep track of who's story is who's.
I understand this book is geared towards adults but the cursing is completely unnecessary. I expected more from Ms. Rowling's writing.
The narrator is the only decent thing about this book.
I am really disappointed in this book. I didn't even get through the first 45 minutes of listening to it because it the characters, story, and language was so awful.