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Review of the book “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling

Updated on May 24, 2013
Review of the book "The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling
Review of the book "The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling | Source

The new book by J.K. Rowling “The Casual Vacancy” was widely advertised in my country and was highly recommended being called “a must read”. I must admit that due to the high status of an author earned by Rowling for her previous works I was half afraid that this book was over advertised, yet at the same time I was intrigued by it.

I got “The Casual Vacancy” as birthday present from my husband. This book was described by critiques as a book for adults, so I guessed it was going to be a sort of an experiment for Rowling and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect.

5 stars for The Casual Vacancy

“The Casual Vacancy” just as the previous books by Rowling is thick and I was wondering if I was going to find too long descriptions there which usually put me off in books. As a nice surprise, I found all the descriptions in the book to be well measured without giving a feeling of being overstretched. Moreover, the further I was moving with the story, the more I wanted it to be even longer than it was, I just didn’t want the book to end. I didn’t wish to part with the characters so carefully created by J.K. Rowling as from the beginning they got under my skin.

”The Casual Vacancy” holds the painfully realistic and believable storyline. It is set in the UK in the small peaceful town Pagford, but also shows glimpses of life in the problematic council estate Fields nearby. Lives of eight families are strongly interlinked in the book and it is a bit confusing at first to get to remember who is who, when new names one by one appear at the beginning of the story. However it all falls into place as the story goes on.

The book is written the way that makes you change your opinion about characters quite a few times. When you thought that a person was good, suddenly a dark side of him/her is revealed making you change your mind. These twists add to feeling of realism of the story.

In her book J.K. Rowling touches a number of problems such as: political games, modern youth, differences between social groups, relationship of parents and children in modern times and of course never ending subjects of love and hate. This novel is also about responsibility and awareness of what is going on around us in our own families as well as in other people's lives.

This book cannot be called predictable by any means as when I was half sure how the book was going to end; the story took on a totally unexpected turn putting everything upside down both in the story and in my mind.

Being tragicomedy novel, “The Casual Vacancy” is a thought provoking book for those who love dark humour and cleverly written dialogues. This novel wasn't written in the style to be read in two days, it's not a page turner. More over, fast reading of "The Casual Vacancy" won't help at all to understand the point of the story. This book needs time to let the characters settle in your mind, let you begin to feel for them and to care for the story itself.

Sometimes I feel like reading a fast pace book, but at the time I started reading "The casual vacancy" I wanted something quiet, a book with thoughts and situations to which I could relate. This novel was exactly what I wanted that's why I enjoyed it so much. It's like with music, all comes down to the mood you are in.

This book will not leave my mind neither my heart any time soon. I’m already missing its characters and really want to know how they get on with their lives after the last page of the book was turned.

What do you think about "The casual vacancy"?

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    • Dina Blaszczak profile imageAUTHOR

      Dina Blaszczak 

      4 years ago from Poland

      @Yuan Tian Yes, I guess there are books which are good to read for fun and pleasure, but also other books which can taught us something.

      Luckily "The Casual Vacancy" was 2 in 1 book for me :) Thanks for your comment!

    • Yuan Tian profile image

      Yuan Tian 

      4 years ago from Australia

      I definitely agree with you, the Casual Vacancy is definitely not a book to be read over a short period. It is very thought-provoking and confronting with the issues that it raises. I'm glad I've read it even though it's not my cup of tea. Finished it just yesterday so it's still fresh on my mind. :)

    • Dina Blaszczak profile imageAUTHOR

      Dina Blaszczak 

      5 years ago from Poland

      @Serenity Queen I see, so not your cup of tea, fair enough ;) Thanks for sharing your opinion :)

    • Serenity Queen profile image

      Serenity Queen 

      5 years ago from Rochester, NY

      I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and I knew this book would be completely different (it was advertised as such) and I was excited to see what JKR would do next.

      I actually did not like The Casual Vacancy. I loved the way it was written but I just couldn't get into the book itself.

      It wasn't bad by any means, just not for me.

    • Dina Blaszczak profile imageAUTHOR

      Dina Blaszczak 

      5 years ago from Poland

      @ JenPaul13 Thanks for leaving a comment!

      I guess that with J.K. Rowling it's a special case as we got so much used to the fact that she writes fantasy books for children that a book for adults was like a big surprise. I'm glad "The Casual Vacancy" turned out to be so good though :)))

    • JenPaul13 profile image


      5 years ago

      I agree with your thoughts. I devoured this book in short while, mastering large chunks of the novel at one sitting.

      I know that many people thought that this was going to be similar to Harry Potter, which is likely why many people panned the novel. When people learn that they can't judge a new work by a loved author based on their previous works, perhaps people will learn to appreciate each novel on its own merits.


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