The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling

There was no way to avoid the hype for The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling’s first venture into adult literature. It seemed like everyone was curious to see if she could write something worthy of following Harry Potter. And so was I. I don’t think that she is a tremendous writer, I mean, she’s no Steinbeck, but then again who is? But I loved the storytelling in Harry Potter and became infatuated with the world that she created in those books, much like Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, I think. So I was expecting a good story but thankfully, did not think, or wish, it would be anything like Harry Potter.

The Casual Vacancy did not disappoint me. It even made it in my top 5 favourite books of 2012. I thought it was a great story. Not a happy one, and definitely not particularly pleasant to read, mind. There were times when I was furious or disgusted and even more times when I didn’t want to turn the page as I suspected what unpleasantness would come. The first part of the book is significantly slower as Rowling is setting the scene and introducing all the characters, but the second part had me hooked. And I thought the end was incredible.

I read in a few reviews that people were bothered by the swearing in the book. I wasn’t. I thought it was used in a way that made sense, it was fitting with the character’s mood and background. Surely no one is surprised that a teenager who lives in a dilapidated house in an estate and deals with drugs and abuse on a daily basis has bad manners?

So if you’ve not read it yet I suggest you give The Casual Vacancy a chance. But perhaps, try to not think of it as a book by Harry Potter’s writer. And be prepared for some very uncomfortable subjects. Might I suggest you chase it with a bit of P.G.Wodehouse? Because if you are looking for something to lift the spirits, that’s just the thing.


7 thoughts on “The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling

  1. SarahWoo says:

    Ah a Wodehouse chaser is a wonderful idea! I had the ridiculous idea of following it with the equally depressing The Slap – I wouldn’t recommend doing what I did…

    I loved The Casual Vacancy too, J.K. Rowling can create a world in her books like very few other writers can, and I was totally drawn in.

    Now I’m off to track down some Blandings before the BBC adaptation starts πŸ™‚

    • bookworm says:

      I haven’t read any of the Blandings books yet. The BBc adaptation hasn’t received great reviews but I think once I read the books I’ll give it a go.

  2. Charlie says:

    I wasn’t aware of the swearing (still haven’t got to it yet, it’s languishing on the shelf) but it’s surely very realistic for it, as you’ve intimated. Good to read your review!

    • bookworm says:

      Yes I definitely think the swearing in The Casual Vacancy is completely justified. Unlike Bliss by Peter Carey which I started reading recently and found to be very crude and for no reason, so I abandoned it.

  3. Lola says:

    I am a little ashamed to say this but I stopped reading a few chapters in. I of course like thousands out there, pre-ordered the copy just because of my loyalty towards the potter series and in no way did i expect another potter book, i was just curious to see what this book was about but i wasn’t enjoying it at all. I will however give it another go, your review has certainly got me curious!!

    • bookworm says:

      I definitely think the first part of the book was a bit hard to read, mostly because there were so many characters and I kept getting them mixed up. Actually there was a cheat-sheet, @laurarowsell posted on Instagram that I thought was brilliant; it might help you if you decide to give it another go!

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