Book Review: Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling


I opened up this book expecting to hate it. Of the many people that I had talked to, only one had actually enjoyed it. I read some reviews and checked it out on Good Reads, but the odds were against it from the beginning. Kevin bought this book the day it came out and only got to page 155, about twenty five percent of the way through it. So I borrowed it and took it to the lake with me. I started it up one evening and didn’t think it was too bad. But, it wasn’t one of those books you have a hard time putting down straight from the beginning. Throughout the weekend, I kept reading and reading…not for something to do but because I was enjoying the story.

The story revolves around an event that happens in a small town. It goes on to tell about how the characters cope with the event and how the regular town life and government will go on. It shifts from character to character with no given rhyme, reason, or chapter change-which I loved, it was so much different than anything I am used to seeing. I liked that I wasn’t partial to one character over another at the end of the story, and that I felt like I got the bird’s-eye view rather than having one character tell all.

I think the reason why I enjoyed it so much is because it’s normal. It’s not Harry Potter at all, it has this real life element that I cannot even get over. This could happen to anyone. It does happen. And I think that is why Kevin, and probably a lot of JK Rowling’s fans didn’t like it. When you are used to reading books like Harry Potter and other thrillers, this just doesn’t have the same suspense.

As for the ending, it was perfect. When you have a book with such a gradual climax, as this one did, you have to have an ending that leaves a lasting impression, something unexpected but so perfectly final.

Have you read it? What did you think? I would love to hear more opinions!


One thought on “Book Review: Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

  1. Like you, I was expecting a disaster based on the reviews, but I found the book to be informative of mental health issues and contained characters that I cared and wanted to read about. You are right that a lot of these issues can and do happen. That’s part of what makes it so good. But it clearly wasn’t for everyone.

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