Rated Reads

The Casual Vacancy

by J.K. Rowling

Rated: DIRT

The sudden and unexpected death of forty-something Barry Fairbrother leaves the whole town of Pagford in a tizzy. Word spreads fast, of course, and everyone has different reactions. The main issue, though, regardless of what people felt about him, is the fact that he leaves a parish council seat vacant.

I was eager to read J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults, the first book she’s written outside of the Harry Potter world. Unfortunately, less than 30 pages in, I just had to stop. I had already encountered about 10 uses of strong language, a reference to masturbating, and a couple of other vulgar references. I took the time to flip through the book at random to see if that was isolated to the beginning, and I found dozens more uses of the f-word just stopping here and there on random pages (a couple of characters use the word five and ten times on a page). Regardless of whether the book is supposedly well written, I didn’t want to subject myself to any more.

I VERY rarely use this rating option, but I am resorting to it this time. If you’re not sure what I mean by this rating, look at my ratings page.

Rated: DIRT. I didn’t invest any more reading time, and if you’re concerned about rampant use of strong language, you probably don’t want to invest reading time, either.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

3 Responses to The Casual Vacancy

  1. […] less than 30 pages in to The Casual Vacancy, I was forced to stop reading. I’ll never know if the book is a worthy effort in terms of […]

  2. Rae Grounds says:

    I’m embarrassed to say I made it to page 34 before I quit. I knew by then I had gone too far. As did Rowling. Too far, Rowling.

  3. […] use strong vulgarity with abandon is beyond me (at least she got me reading further than she did in The Casual Vacancy…). I said then and I’ll say now I rarely resort to the “Don’t Invest […]

  • The Casual Vacancy
  • by J.K. Rowling
  • Rated: DIRT
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: