“The Cuckoo’s Calling”—A Book Review

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The Cuckoo’s Calling…where to begin? Another disappointing attempt at an adult novel by my favorite author in the world, J.K. Rowling. This crime mystery novel was written by Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. My guess is that after her first crap crack at adult novel writing with The Casual Vacancy, she realized not many people would by another book by her that wasn’t Harry Potter related. And truthfully, it really does pain me that I don’t like her adult books, because the Harry Potter series is my all time favorite literary work of all time.

First off, let me state that The Cuckoo’s Calling was better than The Casual Vacancy. The characters were definitely a lot more interesting, possibly because there were a lot less of them, so you could actually follow what was happening .But I believe this novel took a wrong turn with her choice to use omniscient narration. It prevented me from getting to close to the characters. I couldn’t bond with them because she always kept me at arm’s length.

So the plot…

Lula Landry is a famous model who may or may not have committed suicide at the beginning of the tale by jumping off her balcony. The story opens up with police, paparazzi, and reporters trying to get a look at the crumpled body on the snowy pavement.

Next we are introduced to a, seemingly, smart and happy young women who is newly engaged, trying to find a job in London, having just moved there to be with her fiancé. In the mean time she is taking temp jobs, which is how she ends up at the private detective’s office.

Detective Cormoran Strike is a military veteran who lost his leg on a recent tour in Afghanistan. He is basically pitiful personified, but somehow he prevents you from ever actually feeling sorry for him. He’s a proud man who holds his own, despite the fact that he recently broke up with his fiancé (that he was cohabitating with in a very nice apartment she paid for), rendering him homeless. So not only is he having to live in his office now, but he has mounting piles of debt to boot.

Enter John Bristow, Lula’s brother (by adoption). He is convinced that Lula did not kill herself and since the police want to put her death to bed, he offers to pay Detective Strike a handsome sum of money to investigate her death and find her murderer.

Well, with rising piles of debt, how can Strike refuse?

And so the story continues with Strike investigating and digging up leads, in spite of the fact that he initially believed Lula’s death to be a cut and dry suicide.

Really, the book could have been amazing. But it was SO SLOW. The writing was much too descriptive, to the point of being insanely tedious. I just couldn’t do it. If Rowling could have told this story in half the pages (and perhaps in first person or limited third person point of view) it probably would have been fabulous. However, since it is so long and descriptive, I honestly couldn’t even finish it, because it felt like nothing was happening. So I jumped to the end to see who the killer was (something I NEVER do and even consider a blasphemous act). But I just COULDN’T read 300 more pages of descriptive motions.  

All in all, I think J.K. Rowling should stick to writing children’s books. Straight up, she rocks at it. Sadly I can only give this book two out of five stars. I could stretch and give it three because the characters were interesting, but the droning on and on and on just put me off. So I’m sticking with two.

“The Casual Vacancy”—A Book Rant

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Just like millions of Harry Potter fans out there, I could not WAIT for J.K. Rowling’s new book, The Casual Vacancy. And let me tell you, I was totally not prepared for the complete and total letdown of this novel. Holy Balls, it was HORRIBLE!!!

 Absolutely NOTHING HAPPENS in this book! I swear there was no plot. It was merely 503 pages of boringness. And I did finish it, I swear…I kept hoping it would have a killer ending that would redeem the rest of the story, but NO, it didn’t. The ending was just as anticlimactic and lackluster as the rest of the tome.

Also, I feel like J.K. Rowling was on a mission to prove that she could do something other than “squeaky clean,” and went out of her way to use profanity and shocking sexual imagery. Some of the narrative descriptions in this volume had me crossing my legs…it was that crass and revolting. I get it J.K, you can use the “F Bomb.” Congratulations. But next time, let’s trying using it in a meaningful way to accentuate the plot and help the story to progress. Not just dropping it wherever, just because you can. (And this is coming from someone who cusses like a sailor.)

The supposed “plot” of this novel:

In the small English town of Pagford, Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly, leaving a seat open on the town’s council. This happens at the very start of the tale. The rest of the book is about several different people and families in this small town and how this open seat on the council (and the town in general) affects their lives. This story literally follows about twenty different around and basically eavesdrops on their mundane lives. That’s it. The whole story.

Besides the fact that there are way too many characters to keep up with, everyone’s life is completely dull and uneventful. Not to mention the fact that pretty much every character was an utterly horrible person. I get it; I know that most people are not inherently “good,” and everyone has skeletons in their closet, but the way this story was written, I didn’t even remotely feel anything for these characters. They were all selfish and ignorant and I wanted to punch every single one of them in the face. And I’m not a violent person. I wanted to like this book, I really did, but WOW, such an epic fail.

In an interview with BBC, 26 September 2012, News Entertainment & Arts, Rowling says, “I don’t mean this in an arrogant way but I did not sit down to write this novel thinking “got to prove”. I had nothing to prove.”

To me, this basically translates to, I’m super rich and I can write whatever the f*ck I want, because I’m J.K. F*cking Rowling and people will buy my books. Period.

 

My advice…DO NOT READ THIS BOOK! I give it one out of five stars. And that’s being generous.

 

People

“A vivid read with great, memorable characters and a truly emotional payoff….Rowling captures the humanity in everyone.”

^ All I have to say about this review is, “False.”