The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling!
After weeks of promising it, here is my review of The Casual Vacancy, at last!
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the 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 parish 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?
- Excellent characterisation - J. K. Rowling has the ability to create very human characters who are well rounded, have visible flaws and are very believable. This made me emotionally invested in the characters and their lives – I was gleeful when characters I didn’t like suffered (which happens a lot) and sad when characters I liked suffered.
- It’s very ‘real’ – J. K. Rowling tells it like it is, it's very blunt and believable.
- I love books that show multiple points of view, and this one does it really well. Usually there is at least one character whose POV I don’t want to read, but that wasn’t the case for The Casual Vacancy; I wanted to read all of the characters POV as they were all interesting. There were no parts that I wanted to skip through; each part was important to the overall storyline.
- I Love how all of the different stories intertwined (kind of like in the film Love Actually) with one main theme; the death of Barry Fairbrother. It’s interesting seeing how the families are connected with each other.
- No ‘good guys’ or ‘bad guys’ – just like real life. Everyone has flaws, some people are kinder than others, some smarter, but all of them are flawed. Nobody is perfect.
- The start of the book is quite slow, but this is necessary to introduce all of the characters, and make you understand where they fit into the story.
Overall, the novel makes you feel; it makes you care what happens to the characters, whether you like them or not. It’s entertaining and I really enjoyed reading it. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars - the only problem I had with it was the slow start, but like I said, it was needed.