The minute I got the hands on the proper funds, I bought The Casual Vacancy on my Kindle. I devour any books by my favourite authors and felt sure Rowling wouldn't disappoint me. I was nervous because she was in a niche as a children's writer. I was nervous because other authors have felt the need to hide under a pen name when they leave their niches. I applaud Rowling for not doing this. All the same I was in for a shock when I started to read it.
I wasn't expecting the magic of Harry Potter, believe me. I wasn't expecting anything but an excellently woven story by an author I love. The other thing I wasn't expecting was what began to unfold in front of me. I am not against swearing by any means. I am an adult. I've read romance novels, so I've seen all kinds of things described. Seeing this from a children's author, obviously, was a bit jarring, but I took a break, reminded myself what it was and started reading again.
It felt like so much was going on, that it was jumping around. I couldn't keep up. I stopped once more and felt disappointed not in Rowling but in myself. I told myself "she's one of your favourite authors, she's one of your biggest writing inspirations, what's wrong with you?" There's nothing wrong with me, though, and there's nothing wrong with her writing. She was brave - so brave - for jumping into writing adult books after the sensation the Harry Potter books were. A lot to live up to, really. Recently, she said she was going back to children's writing. Is this because it wasn't that well-received?
I thought this would be a story I would enjoy or appreciate, but it wasn't. I can't even finish it. However, if I'm honest with myself here and with you the reader, I didn't like the Harry Potter books when they were first introduced to be as a child of 9-10. It wasn't until later, at 13, when my best friend dragged me to the first movie. I loved it, so I picked up the books again. A love was born. I even went to the midnight releases of the books. I was that into it. So, if I give The Casual Vacancy another try, will the same thing happen? I don't know, but I do know that I completely admire Rowling for taking the plunge. This plunge is something that makes her inspire me any more. I hope one day she will take up her pen again and try once more.
Writing is hard. Writing may be a relief to a person, but it's hard, especially when the eyes of the world are on you. In the days leading up to the release, how did Rowling feel? In her shoes, I'd have been in abject terror. How will it be received, I will wonder, will my fans abandon me now? I won't abandon her because she is a talented story teller, because she is Rowling and because she gave us Harry Potter. I know she needs to move on and happily, so happily, I am glad to see her do it. I am glad to see that she hasn't lost heart. I am glad to see her fans still love her even if they didn't love her newest book.
Thanks, J.K., for being the author I will always look up to.
To the reader, please read it for yourself and make your own judgements. You may love it.
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