Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review: The Casual Vacancy

I received The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling for Christmas.  I am ashamed to say that it was only the third book I've read this year.  The first book I read and reviewed here was The Little Book by Selden Edwards.  Then I was asked to read Most Unlikely to Succeed by Nelson Lauver for work.  That was an amazing memoir written by a man in a county not far from where I live.  We were also fortunate enough to have him come to speak at an in-service day, which was totally amazing. 

This brings me back to The Casual Vacancy.


Here is the book description from Amazon:

When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

I'll be honest. I wanted this book because J.K. Rowling wrote it. I'm pretty sure every adult Harry Potter fan hoped that this book was secretly "Harry Potter: The Adult Years." I knew it wasn't. That made it hard to get into at first. I really do not think the plot is interesting. We are introduced to many characters, and the story bounces around between them. It was confusing at times. As I read, I started to enjoy making the connections between the characters and how they all weave together to tell the story. What kept me reading is that I really did want to see what happened in the end. I would have liked the book more, perhaps, if there had been fewer characters (some of whom seemed rather unimportant) AND if the story was about something interesting.

Don't let the election part scare you away, though.  This wasn't overly political.  It didn't center on the election itself.  There was a lot more to the story than that.

Overall, I didn't dislike this book, but I didn't love it either. I would recommend that J.K. Rowling's grown up fans read this, though, because it is SO different from anything even remotely related to Harry Potter....except maybe that it takes place in England. ;)

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Julie said...

I've been curious about this book so I am very glad you reviewed it! I didn't know if I would be remotely interested in it.

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