I wasn't really going to read this. When I heard about J.K.Rowling writing another novel, a judgmental voice inside me went 'Oh, here we go again.' Somehow I felt it was a betrayal to Harry Potter- like she didn't think the legendary series were perfect and enough for her writing career. There was another voice inside- squeakier and kinder- that kept reminding me of my curiosity. Then it was out, and people were reading it, and not liking it, and the judgmental voice felt fed and satisfied. 'That's what she gets for turning away from her gold mine to dig from another.'
So when a phone call from the university's library called me to declare that my request purchase has been made and my book's ready to be picked, it took a few seconds to recall what they were talking about. I was at the library counter in the blink-of-an-eye, telling everyone "I never really expected them to buy it" but secretly over-joyed.
What it's mainly about
A fictional town in England buzzing with drama behind a seemingly-peaceful cover, its residents dealing with issues that places all around deal with- local government politics, social class issues, death, broken families, poverty, racism, drug-abuse, et cetera et cetera
What was so good about it
- Writing: Distinctly Rowling, with simple sentences well-worded, un-opiniated leaving judgement to readers, witty or poignant as fitting to the scene.
- Characters: Realistic.
- Plot: Begins with a climax, and ends in one, with a very slow-paced story in between. Many reviews mentioned that the story dragged on, but I feel the sluggishness of the main body of the story gave the characters time to develop and allowed Rowling to delve on to each character's relevant past and inner struggles.
- Message: Without giving away any detail for fear of accidental spoilers, the way the novel ended with all the characters' separate stories just SO perfectly weaved together demonstrated very neatly how the members of a close-knit society impact each other's lives in such direct ways, and leaves no doubt in the reader's mind the main message of the novel: we are responsible for each other.
What was not so good about it
- Filled to the brim with colourful language and dirty scenes
- That it was by JK Rowling. It's not fair to expect another magical world that sweeps you away. I find it interesting how she first wrote a fantasy story where the good ultimately prevails, and then wrote an adult novel showcasing our real world, where- *oops*
Overall, four on five stars to The Casual Vacancy. Joanne Rowling, I'm "your girl through and through".
(Next read: Divergent by Veronica Roth)