The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith

March 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

The cuckoos calling

This year, my goal is to read more fiction. I’m doing it to be a better writer, because I love it and because if I am not intentional about it, I read non-fiction. I don’t know why because fiction is more fun. But that is what I do.

I was curious about the Cuckoo’s Calling once I found out that it was written by J.K. Rowling. I admire J.K. Rowling’s writing, and especially the characters she has developed in the Harry Potter series. I heard Cuckoo’s Calling was entirely different and couldn’t wait to see what I could find out about J.K. Rowling by reading another side of her. I was also curious about why in the world this woman wouldn’t want to fess up to owning this book.

I haven’t read much murder/mystery so I’m not sure if this is just a “thing” in the genre, but I couldn’t help feeling a little let down by how linear the plot was. I was expecting more complexity. I was expecting to find sub plots fueling the way. Instead, I found a series of clues, one after the other after the other after the other. Delivered in a monotonous way. Until the truth was revealed and we were done.

To be fair, two other points need to be made:

  • This book hooked me. It had me sneaking away to read it a few pages at a time when my family wasn’t looking.
  • I didn’t figure out whodunit until I got to the end of the book, even though I should have.

To me this suggests that the book was more successful than I am giving it credit for. The problem was likely my own perceptions about what I was going to find. Because she wrote Harry Potter. And this book is not Harry Potter. Which is why this poor woman was forced to abandon her baby child book at its birth so that it could stand on its own feet and not be squashed by Harry.

What I learned as a Writer

  • I want my book to move fast at the top. This book is an example of how not to do that.
  • Books are like babies. Trust your mothering instinct. You know what is best for your baby.
  • What is best for your baby might not be best for the bottom line. (According to numerous news sources, only 1,500 copies of this book sold in the UK prior to the release of information that J.K. Rowling was the author).

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