I’m reading The Casual Vacancy at the moment.
I’m not generally given to remarking on a book when I’m only midway through it – reviews really only make sense when you’ve read the whole thing.
But I have a particular point about this book.
Sinéad lent it to me – just over a week ago. She brought it with her last week when she was visiting.
So I’ve had the book for nine days. And I haven’t read more than fifty pages of it. I’ve started it alright, I started the night she gave it to me, after they had left, and we were spending the evening in the living room, I picked it up and began to read.
It’s not a thrilling beginning. I really wasn’t entranced. I picked it up again today, and I’m still not entranced.
But then, the same thing happened to me with Harry Potter. It’s widely acknowledged that the first chapter of the Philosopher’s Stone isn’t a gripping one. To be honest, the first chapters of the next six books are nothing special either, but by the time I’d gotten that far, I was already hooked.
PS, though. It didn’t grab me. I first read the first chapter in, I think 1998. One of my cousins was visiting. She’s the first person I ever knew who read Harry Potter, and she was reading PS while she visited. I picked it up, read the first few pages, scoffed and put it back down again. I think it was two years before I bothered going back and getting my own copy of it and actually following through, despite Hannah’s fervent recommendations.
Still, though, once I slogged past that first chapter, I became an unashamed Potterhead. It was so revered in my house that there are no less than three copies of the fifth, sixth and seventh books, because we couldn’t wait to read them in turn.
Perhaps The Casual Vacancy is the same, and after a slow start will pick up. I’ll slog on for a while in the hopes of finding something worth reading.