Book Review: Casual Vacancy


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The days of wizards, spells and managing mischief have come to a close, along with the doors to the beloved home of Hogwarts many of us fell in love with.

But J.K. Rowling has come out of the Forbidden Forest to write her first novel solely for adults.

“Casual Vacancy” made its way to the shelves of bookstores all over the world on Sept. 27, causing a big crash in the wave of all the “Harry Potter” fans, who firmly believed she would write one more book to the series we cannot seem to get over.

Rowling has said many times that the magical series is long over and with this novel, we can all firmly attest that we are living in the Muggle world.

However, the personalities of characters do match those of Petunia and Vernon Dursley: self-absorbed, snobbish and judgmental, close-minded people.

The story of “Casual Vacancy” takes place in the fictional English town of Pagford where a story is told of political power and personal failure, all created by the sudden death of a member of the parish council named Barry Fairbrother.

Although Rowling’s work on the novel is definitely shown through her impressive writing style, many readers will definitely agree that it is no “Harry Potter.”

It is easy to understand why Rowling wanted to take a step away from the wizarding world and enter reality for the first time in a decade. However, fans may be saying she took too far of a step back. The novel is not only depressing with its suicide, rape, heroin addictions and beatings, but it is also dull.

Along with the depression of all of these things, a sex scene in a cemetery and a very descriptive scene with a used condom set this novel apart from her earlier work and it is definitely not for children.

Dissing Rowling is a hard thing to do, not only because of her unique style but because you can see some of her quirky humor and genuine drama show through in this novel just as we saw in “Harry Potter.”

However, the end of the novel is disheartening with two more deaths that the reader is left questioning what the point of the crude deaths was.

Rowling admitted that she was nervous and fairly aware of all the pressure far more than she was when writing the “Harry Potter” series.

If it isn’t obvious already, I’ll admit that I’m not a huge fan of “Casual Vacancy” as it was hard getting past chapter 2, when usually after five days of having a book in my possession, it’s long been read and on the bookshelf. However, I will remain a faithful reader and hope the next novel will catch my interest.

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