Given how gifted a writer J.K. Rowling proved herself to be as she gave readers the amazing series of Harry Potter, I couldn’t help but be excited about her writing a new book. I knew it would in no way compare to Harry Potter, but I thought that there was no way she could craft a bomb.
Well, 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 plot or writing style because it’s just jam-packed with vulgarity, and I refuse to read any more. I very rarely put down a book after getting started simply because it’s laced with profanity and other offensive content, but this was one of those times. I am SO disappointed. I am particularly disenchanted with Jo Rowling. From what I read in the first bit and then just after flipping through the book and stopping on random pages, I am inclined to estimate that there must be a hundred uses of the f-word (the rarely used c-word is even in the first bit that I read). Or even more. I just don’t care to read more to find out exactly how many. What’s the point?
I’ve already written about my aversion to vulgarity in books and that I don’t see a need for them to show “authenticity.” There’s just no reason for that. I know that there are people out there who disagree with me, but I am also fairly sure that quite a few readers really don’t want to read a book that contains 100 uses of the f-word.
Jo, just because this is your first book for adults doesn’t mean that it has to be “adult.” You could have written a fine book without all of that trash. I know that it doesn’t really matter to you how many copies you sell, at least financially, since you’re already set for about a hundred lifetimes. But does it matter to you that many of your loyal readers are now disappointed and disgusted by your choice to make this so full of vulgarity? I hope it does. I hope that next time you write a book you choose to make it “cleaner.” It doesn’t have to be squeaky-clean, and it doesn’t have to be appropriate for young readers, (even though that would be nice, considering the fact that some younger readers will likely try to read your adult novels even though they’re clearly “for adults”) but it would be nice if it were more accessible for everyone.
I'm a book reviewer, editor, and writer with four daughters and tons of projects always keeping me hopping. I blog at Life and Lims and run the book review site Rated Reads.