Wednesday, 24 October 2012

REVIEW: The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling
(Don't worry, no spoilers)

J. K. Rowling's first book for adults tells the story of three citizens of a small town vying for a seat on local council after it's previous holder suddenly drops dead. When I told this to one of my library co-workers she replied "that doesn't seem like much of a plot", I see her point. At times I did get quite immersed by Rowling's legitimately 3D characters however the book dragged on too long to sustain my interest.  For this story, the book was about a quarter too long (the length of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone).
There are no lead protagonists in the book, instead we follow about 15 characters as they face life's trials. At first this jumping back and forth between characters was very confusing but eventually I got the hang of it. I would assume that Rowling's message is that no matter your socioeconomic status, life will still present you with terrible situations. Unfortunately I found none of Rowling's characters like-able and therefore, although I felt sorry for them, I didn't really care all that much about their problems. Some will be shocked by the nature of these problem (drugs, rape, suicide etc.) I believe however this is a brave and correct direction for Rowling to take.
But overall there is no getting away from one disappointing fact, this book is just not Harry Potter.

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