Title: The Casual Vacancy
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: September 7, 2012
Length: 505 pages
Awards: Goodreads Choice for Best Fiction (2012)
Let’s get this out in the open right from the beginning. Yes, J.K. Rowling. The author of the Harry Potter empire wrote a book that does not have to do with magic, fantasy, and absolutely nothing to do with HP. I knew this going into the book. I did not read this book thinking it was going to be anything like HP. This book is categorized as Adult Fiction and should be treated as such.
So what did I think of this book? It’s big. (My first impression.) There’s over 500 pages. As an avid reader, I still hold the right to say that a 500 page book is big, and here is me saying that it’s big. Clever use of red in the cover. Red is a trigger color in our brains. It signifies hunger. Not necessarily hunger as in I’m hungry and need a sandwich, but also with a need for it. A hunger for it. (Think about it for a minute – how many books do you pick up that have red on them?) It actually took me awhile to read this book. I started it in 2013 and finished it January 8, 2014. I was simultaneously reading this with Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende (finished December 2013).
On to the actual book before I tell you what I thought of the contents. This book is about a little town, Pagford, and how they are dealing with the death of Barry Fairbrother. This death causes a vacancy on the council. Don’t be scared, it’s not a super political book. This book deals with relationships of all sorts. Teen love. Adult love. Being trapped in a marriage. Parent-child relationships. The privileged and the poor. Teacher and student. It’s a very interesting, very real-feel of how relationships really are and how people react in certain situations. The death of Fairbrother is just the hitch that sets off this town in a snowball of self destruction. Will there be a triumph? Who will come out unscathed? (And many more cliche questions to make this seem more exciting.)
Alright, my opinion! I actually enjoyed this book. I think J.K. Rowling as a writer is very interesting, especially since this book doesn’t even have a tinge of her HP years. I had a hard time keeping characters straight. We’re introduced to a ton right away and then expected to remember who is who and who’s not getting along with whom and so on and so forth. The character development for each character is astonishing. Not one character is one dimensional. Each character has a public side and a private side and it’s very impressive the depth that Rowling gives to each of them. The story line itself is a little iffy. There wasn’t really much of a storyline in the way that you think a mystery book or thriller has a storyline. The storylines weave in and out of each other. There are many storylines. Each person has their own storyline and some of them aren’t explicitly written out, which is pure genius. We’re not with each character for every second of their time and we get to see how they grow and infer what happened “off camera”. It can be slow-moving at times, but stay with it. It’s worth it.
What did I rate this book and what does it mean? 4 Stars! I read it and really enjoyed it. I definitely recommend it, but wouldn’t say every single person in the world absolutely needs to read it.
So, is this book on your “To Read” list? Did you already read the book? What did you think of it? Let me know in a comment below!