Maybe in an attempt to distance herself from our favorite child wizard, the story has a very real, somewhat depressing tone to it.
Rowling reminds us how "unmagical" can people get - the characters of this book are selfish, small, insecure and misunderstood. I believed her, and gulped down this book in a heartbeat.
Boring, tedious, and drab. I kept wondering "when is it going to get good?" Too many characters introduced too quickly with no essence of individuality that would make them memorable.
If someone were to ask me who my favorite writer is I would respond "JK Rowling," with that said this book is Horrible. I only made it to chapter 8, could not make myself wast any more time I could spend listening to a book I enjoy. Definitly not in the league with Harry Potter. I knew it wasn't going to be fantasy but this book was just plain boring. Sorry JK :(
Disappointed in JK Rowling's "adult fiction" book. The Casual Vacancy fell flat on its face. Too many characters, too predicable an ending - it didn't meet my expectations after her Potter series.
If this were written by anyone other than Rowling, it would be panned outright.
Tom Hollander tried his best to embody the various characters and reads with great diction. He was the one bright spot in this recording.
Tom did a great job. I would listen to another of his performances again.
Disappointed with the outcome, the plot, the characters.
I could tell if it was the narrator or that the hook was sooooooooooo slow that I never got hooked.
A faster pace, it started off well enough but then dragged and dragged
Use different voices for the female and male characters
Really didn't need all that bad language.
After reading the reviews I thought I better put on my own "hat" of curious listening of an old friend.... a friend that wrote unprecedented and captivating youth fiction who's deciding to speak her own dark opinion and mind in a more adult audience.
In my listening I considered also that she has traversed the sorting of classes and has in some ways transcended all the classes unto herself, in some ways, especially in England, I get the feeling it is impossible to transcend the class system entirely... the tragedy and comedy of this irremovable.... and this is her expression, some of her therapy just as the Potter books were for her.
So, again, I put on my curiosity "hat" and decided to see the big picture of Rowling, the world, politics, fiction, my own suburban life where it is I am stuck with certain realities and where the dangers of just going along and being in the doldrums indefinitely and were it is that even with effort how luck is needed to see through and step beyond the new polarity of classism burgeoning here in our own back yard.
I feel a thoughtful read, an approach of continuously asking why it is she is choosing these bends in fiction now that she doesn't have to please a publisher and get approval but has free reign... to take a refreshing curious approach to dark comedy is already an oxymoron in itself but it really worked for me in hearing this well spoken book.
I must admit, the political side of adult life is not nearly as exciting as to read of children and youth.... this book inspires me to keep working at keeping myself young at heart in part in fear of the tragedy of becoming dull and vacant. This book is plenty good if I bring my own good sharp mind of curiosity and dialogue with the author as I listen and ask... who am I in this story were I inserted into it? How would that be for everyone there? In my own backyard? For this alone it is worth it.... she is like iron; as it is said "iron sharpens iron"... this is the approach I think bears good fruit in good listening.
I do look forward to her next novel and do hope for something entirely different yet again and also do expect a fond inclusion of the relevance of children as a part of the main thread throughout her next story.
Ok, I quit. I got about a quarter of the way in before I couldn't stand the boredom anymore. The person who performed the book is just fine. Too bad he didn't have a better story to work with. In my opinion it's a book about nothing. Too many characters makes it confusing, too much minutia (the nothing)and the story advances too slow for my taste. I actually spent money on this.Disappointing.
This is a well written book but very depressing. But that is not why I only gave it 2 stars. I found even in the Harry Potter series the grown ups not behaving as good parents and often causing pain unnecessarily. This is true in this book also. JK Rowling seems to have a good grasp on the adolescent brain and rational but I feel she diminishes adults and their ability to respond appropriately.
Also, I appreciate learning about other countries and culture and love to learn through literature. I felt she was weak bringing me into the social structure. As an American reader, it took a bit to understand how the politics influenced the story.
JK Rowling is obviously a talented writer but her observations skew towards the dark side of adults and the low side of children. It is for this reason that I would not recommend her book. I will not read another.
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.