Barry Fairbrother was not just any man, he was not just any chancellor on the Parish Council, he was the glue that kept everything together. When Barry Fairbrother dies though, the small town of Pagford slowly, but surely, starts to spin out of control. The rich are waging a war against the poor, who just seem to take, take, take and never give anything back to the community. The young is at war with their parents, who just doesn’t seem to realise that there’s more to life than doing everything the “Pagford Way”. The council is at war against one another as hidden agendas are revealed and secrets become well-known to the residents of Pagford. With the casual vacancy and the upcoming election growing closer, this is one of those stories that will give people a good indication as to how nasty even small-town politics can be.
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling is not what I expected it to be. Now, many critics have given the book mixed reviews and although I at first felt the same way about it, I decided to let the story brew and settle n my mind first,before rushing off to write a review. After a week of The Casual Vacancy being in a stagnant state in the depths of my mind, the conclusion I drew is as follow:
J.K. Rowling is a household name, the Harry Potter Series is one of the most beloved children books of our time and I feel that perhaps J.K. Rowling wanted to get rid of the stigma that has transcended from that with this novel. The Casual Vacancy is a book that’s more serious, has more adult content – sex, drugs, conflict, death – and ultimately would give the Harry Potter lover quite a shock as to how this well-known author decided to continue her career. It’s no secret that J.K. Rowling can write, and she does it pretty well, but I can’t help and wonder why she would have chosen to continue her career in this direction. I can fully understand why she wanted to write an adult novel, why she would have loved to be known for something other than Harry Potter, but frankly J.K. Rowling went about it in the wrong way.
The Casual Vacancy is a great book, it would keep readers wondering, but somehow it took away some of the innocence I had personally attributed Harry Potter to. 22 pages in I already felt that Ms. Rowling should have rather written an adult fantasy novel, instead of taking this particular route and at the end of the book I had made the decision that although her name would sell The Casual Vacancy, her name would also be the reason the book failed. In fact, I couldn’t help but wonder how this book, with so many loose ends, actually got published. Was it another unknown author, it certainly wouldn’t have, because the ending is just too bland. Here we read about a whole town, we follow their everyday lives through this tumulus time, and yet I didn’t feel any heart behind the book. There was just something lacking about The Casual Vacancy and it wasn’t the writing (which is always first class), there was just something about the story that rubbed me the wrong way.
Would I tell people to buy the book? If you’re a die-hard Harry Potter fan, then no. It would take away some of the magic that has been unknowingly been attributed to the author. It’s just not worth it in the end. To those who didn’t really like Harry Potter, go ahead and buy it, but know that the ending has a lot of loose ends and that it’s one big book that doesn’t really get to the bottom of anything with the characters. J.K. Rowling has the talent, but this book, The Casual Vacancy, was probably the biggest mistake of her career.