Gabrielle Bisset

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Casual Vacancy

J.K. Rowling's new book, The Casual Vacancy, was released the other day to howls of disappointment for the price (something she has no control over being a traditionally published author) and the content. I'm not concerned about the price here but instead about the content issue. It seems the world is full of people who think authors must write the same book all the time. Who are these people?

Now I will grant you that from what I've read it might have been a good idea to change her name for this book since it's so different from the series that shall not be named. Here's the reality, though. This is her name. Why should she have to change it to suit a world filled with narrow-minded people?

I've been looking at the 1 star reviews on Amazon and over and over again they sound like children who've been given the wrong flavored lollypop. They're kicking and screaming about it not being like the series that shall not be named, with the biggest problem being that she dropped the F-bomb.

Are they fucking kidding?

I do admit I'm a bit jaded since I write in the genre I do, but are all these people stunted, stuck in some sanctimonious pre-teen haze?  Rowling repeatedly said before the release that this is a book for adults. Why the hell would readers buy a book described that way and then bemoan the adult content? 

The problem is that there are readers who honestly believed this woman should stay in one stale place for the rest of her life because they've never moved in theirs. I feel like I need to be honest here. I've never truly read the series that shall not be named. I tried to make it through the first two books and that was like a cross between a hot knife through butter and slogging through knee-deep oatmeal. As they're children's books, they held little for me, but the writing wasn't what I'd expected so it was rough going. My friends told me to keep reading as they promised they got better. I did, but it's been spotty, at best. From what I've seen, the woman knows her craft, but in the end, they're children's books and I don't read that genre.

The movies were great, though.

Back to the point. Unfortunately for Rowling, she's learned that readers aren't any better than any other group of people. No matter how many people say it, they don't like change. It unnerves them, upsets their very boring yet very stable apple carts. She was supposed to be THAT J.K. Rowling for the rest of time, just like they'll be whoever they've been FOREVER. Even the vaunted NY Times reviewer can't help but compare this book to the other series. The problem is that it was never supposed to be happy and touching like the series that shall not be named. Why is this idea so hard for all these people to grasp?

I applaud Rowling for growing as a writer, and while I had no plans to ever purchase The Casual Vacancy, I have to admit all this screaming and hollering from these people has made me rethink that choice. I won't buy it at the current price, but I think I will give it a try in a few weeks. I hope that the histrionics by those disappointed fans will do the same for others like me. The book may not be good, but all this bitching by the masses tells me that I might want to give it a chance.


Kathryn R. Blake said...

Gabrielle, I heard about JK's new book, but wasn't aware it was out, yet. I read all the books in the "series that shall not be named," because I found her world-crafting phenomenal. I even got the books on CD so I could hear Jim Dale's interpretation of her characters' voices, and enjoyed the books all over again.
That said, I do not read children's books either, and was hesitant to begin the series at first. It didn't take long for me to get caught up in her world, however, and once begun it was a ride I was sorry to see end.
I thought JK had found her niche in fantasy (whether for children or adults), so I never had high expectations for, nor any real intention of purchasing, her new book. However, after reading your article, I am reconsidering that decision as well.
Thanks for sharing.

Gabrielle Bisset said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kathryn! My curiosity is always piqued when I see so many people saying something is bad. Oddly enough, it's rarely piqued when I see so many people raving about something. I guess I just prefer the road less traveled sometimes. :)

Nicki J Markus said...

Great post Gabrielle. It's a shame readers won't accept her writing in a different genre. I have read the series that shall not be named and found it okay. I am interested to see what this new 'adult' book is like, but, like you, I'll wait for the price to drop a bit first: I'm not in any rush.

Deanna said...

Thank you for pointing out that J.K. Rowling does not control the price of her books and that she should be allowed the chance to write something other than children's books. I read the reviews on Amazon and was amazed at how many people didn't even read the book but left one star reviews. Why would anyone want to be so small-minded and mean? I agree the ebook version is priced high but usually a book comes out in hardcover first with no ebook available, so compared to the price of the hardcover, the ebook is a deal! Like you, the more people run down this book, the more I want to read it, and as soon as the price goes down I will probably give it a try. Hopefully other people will feel the same way and at least give this author a chance before writing a review.