Well my initial reluctance had a lot to do with the level of pettiness and self-absorption of the characters. And yes that was there in spades. But as I got further on and got to know the characters better it seemed that many times the motivations of one another were misunderstood and the interconnectedness of how ones actions affected another was what came across. There are obviously some very unpleasant characters and some who were deeply ill or disturbed. I think Rowling did a good job showing the thoughts and motivations of her characters.
In the end I can say that I was moved by this story, especially for Crystal, little Robbie and their mother Terri. I doubt I'll feel the desire to revisit Pagford, as I did Hogwarts. And I will look with interest on what Rowling decide to write next.