Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Casual Vacancy J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy is J.K.Rowling's newest book offering. It is aimed at a more adult/mature audience then her Harry Potter series, which I loved. To be honest I got this book based on her name alone. I knew nothing about the book. As I have read the HP books I dont think I can hope to review this book without mentioning them, but here is my review of the Casual Vacany.

*MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*

My Summary -

The book is set in the tiny town of Pagford, it is a middle class, tight-knit community with 'The Fields' (the lower-class community) right on the doorstep. Pagford is split into people who hate The Fields, and want it removed and put under the care of another town, and those that are happy to have the fields part of Pagford and help the struggling community. When Barry Fairbrother unexpectadly dies, his council seat is left open, leaving people to fight over his seat, and the future of Pagford and The Fields.

This little sum up of the book makes it sound actually quite inviting. As someone who has branched out into reading adult novels I can say this is the kind of book I would read, it has class conflicts, deals with social issues, has the promise of what tries to be an ideal English town and makes it seem far darker then on first look. However it just did not live up to that! The writing style seems off, and it took a long time for me to actually finish the book. J.K can write brilliant books, we saw it with HP, there was a huge character selection, good vs evil content, great discriptive qualities, but the casual vacancy seemed to lack those qualities a little bit. There was a huge catalouge of characters that was hard to keep track of and warm to. J.K seemed to switch from one characters thoughts to another quickly. Sometimes within the same paragraph and page. It made it very difficult to follow. There is also such a huge amount of characters that are very similar, somehow J.K lost her magic touch and none of these characters seemed to be well developed, they tended to blend together and you could easily find yourself lost between them.
 The issue of class divide was never fully explored for me, it seemed childish, 'We were here first, we are better have more money ect. you are scum and dont deserve to be here' It never explored why people thought like this in the town. There are adult themes in this book, there is alot of swearing, sex, drugs, there are even scenes of rape, domestic abuse, death and just general terrible behaviour. These things alone do not make an adult book and they feature far too often. It seems like J.K wanted to go against everything she wrote before, and I just cant help thinking it has not made a great book.
It is a hard going book, once you have managed to get through the first 150 pages or so it does get a bit easier to read. I kept returning to it and going 'ooooh I wonder what piece of gossip Pagford has for me today!' It also has an explosive ending which I certainly was not expecting. Im not going to giveaway the ending but if you struggle through the book, it does kind of make up for it! Ive heard alot of people were not impressed with the ending it just stops, theres no what happens to the town now, what happens to any of the characters that you may have warmed to. However as I simply never warmed to any of the characters, or wanted to know what happened to them, I didnt mind the ending of this book. It seems a bit harsh to say really :(
I do not think this is one of J.K.Rowlings greatest books, for an adult book it seems to be missing alot of maturity, but I wouldnt give it to a young adult to read either. Im not sure where this sits in the market and I feel alot of people like me, may get it just out of curiosity. I doubt I will ever read this book again, but part of me is glad I finished it and gave it a go.

My final verdict? Not great for an adult novel. but if you are only just starting to read books with mature content, give this one a go. Also read it if you think it sounds interesting, go look at the blurb of the book it might appeal to you! Or you may simply want to read it because you want to read a different style from J.K You may like it, you may not. Its kind of a Marmite book!!

Kerri
xx