mini book review – “The Casual Vacancy”

…by J.K.Rowling. I, like everybody else, picked up this book because she is the author. I didn’t know what to expect other than that it is a ‘big novel about a small town’, and that it shouldn’t be compared to Harry Potter stories.

The sudden death of Barry Fairbrother left the town of Pagford in shock. Then the slow unfolding of the town’s history helped me understand why people reacted so differently to this tragedy. The empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon became the catalyst for a war – as several candidates prepared for the election, hidden grudges came to the surface, dirty secrets were revealed, and many lives took a downward spiral.

Rowling is a very good storyteller. She successfully built up the rather intricate relationships and conflicts within and among families. I was hooked even though I didn’t like any of the characters (except maybe the dead Barry). I didn’t enjoy this book – the stories were too dark/disturbing and some language was unnecessarily gross, but I did experience it. I wish I could get in there to shake some sense into people, to help them, or to kill them. There were times I dreaded continuing because I didn’t want to see these people doing despicable things to ruin themselves and others. These gossipy, selfish, irresponsible, spiteful people made me cringe, because they felt so real. The war ended at last – some came out of it a better person, some were forever lost.

Even without the Harry Potter books, I would still say J.K.Rowling is a great writer based on this book alone. I couldn’t decide whether I like this book or not, but I do know that I will remember it for a very long time.

 

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2 thoughts on “mini book review – “The Casual Vacancy”

  1. What a great review. I like that you were clear about what you didn’t like, but that you still thought the writing was well done. I’m intrigued by the possibilities even though I suspect I would have a similar reaction. It was on my list to read but not high on the list. I’ll keep it where it is for now. 🙂

    • Thank you! Pretty sure I will remember the story and the characters for a while, so let me know what you think if you get a chance to read it in the next few years. 🙂

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