Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling


The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Review by Lauren

source- book was a gift from a friend

Official Summary: When Barry Fairweather 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 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?

Review: A friend had given me this novel as a Christmas gift, and I finally found the time to read it. Luckily for me, it worked out that I could post this on J.K. Rowling's birthday and I figured nothing could be more fitting!

For those of you who don't know, The Casual Vacancy is the first novel that Rowling published after all things Harry Potter. It's also her first adult novel. While it received mixed reviews, I really found myself loving it.

I'll admit, it can read kind of slow in the beginning and I was a bit worried it would turn out boring or simply not my thing. That didn't happen though. As I kept reading, I found myself fully invested in the story and the characters within. I liked that everyone had their problems. They were all faced with hardships, yet they never seemed overly heroic. They had their moments where you disagreed with the actions they took or the things they believed in...but it just made the story all that more realistic.

The Casual Vacancy follows various point of views, and it took some time to grasp who everyone was, but once I did, things started to flow. You get teens, adults, men, women, "insiders", "outsiders"; in simple terms, this novel fully encompasses the town of Pagford. It's a form of writing that I felt really worked for the novel. Everything starts to unravel a bit after Barry Fairweather dies, so it makes sense to focus on all the different people that his life and death affected. With him gone, drama unfolds and secrets are eventually revealed.

While it may not be good for everyone, I would recommend giving The Casual Vacancy a chance. I personally think Rowling did a tremendous job in her first adult novel. It's a literary book, very much different from Harry Potter, but I think if people push through, it could be worth it.

16 comments:

Liviania said...

I still need to read this one. I'm glad you loved it!

Andrea @The Bookish Babes said...

Im glad you have Casual Vacancy a chance, and that it paid off. It sounds like the multiple points of view were well-done also. Great review!

Charlene C said...

I very much agree with your review! Though I'm not sure it is really my thing, I thought JK Rowling's cast of characters was fascinating and so detailed, and I was really invested in them as the story went on.

Rachel said...

I am one of the few people on the planet who haven't read Harry Potter so I've wondered how this would work for me. I'm sure comparing this to the Harry Potter series did nothing but a disservice to the story and I have a feeling I'd like this story as well. Great review, Lauren. :)

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

I'm still debating on this one. I feel the slow parts would be too much for me. I do want to check out her new one though!

Bellas Shelf said...

I have been waiting to see a review of this book that didnt gush about Harry only. I know Harry rocked, but that alone wont make this good. Ya know?
Ive read a few books that were slow in the beginning and the books were fabulous.
I am happy its a good review for her birthday..lolz..
Very nice.
What style book would you call it?
Drama,Contemp, etc.?

Brandi Kosiner said...

I don't think it is for me especially with the slow beginning

Candace said...

Strangely enough, I haven't had a strong urge to read this one. I'm glad it worked for you though!

Medeia Sharif said...

I hope to read this. I love how this author expanded into other genres successfully.

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

I still haven't gathered the courage to read this one, mostly because i fear disappointment, but your review brought me a step closer. I'm glad you cared about the characters despite the slow start. It all sounds pretty promising.
Great review!

Melanie said...

I've been so bothered about this one and the mixed reviews. I attempted a read some time back but couldn't quite get into the story. I am glad to hear it worked for you, hon!

Great review.<33

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I've been curious about this one, but am more curious about the other book she wrote under another pen name. Still need to check this one out. Sounds fab.

Aylee said...

Oh, Lauren!! You have no idea how happy it makes me that you loved this one so!! I was a bit disappointed when this was first released and people seemed to not like it at all because I personally loved it, as well. It was definitely a slow start and it took me awhile to sort out who everyone was because there were so many characters. But like you, the more I read, the more I got into it and everyone's lives. I loved that non of the characters were perfect, that they all had their faults. It made them more REAL. She is so great with her characters and their development - they are truly and fully realized.

So yeah, I really loved this review. Really well said!

GABY said...

I really want to read more books from Rowling some day. I am a fan of Harry Potter and I know her new books are totally different, but I think she writes amazing!

Bookworm1858 said...

I am looking forward to giving this a chance-I just need to carve out some time to leisurely page through it.

....Petty Witter said...

Expecting the Blogosphere to be full of reviews of this book, yours is one of only a handful I've read.

Great stuff, I think you give sound advice in that I really should give it a try even if I suspect it won't be to my taste.