I finally finished ready “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling, and according to The Huffington Post, the book is going to become a television series shortly. As far as my opinion of the book, well….it just wasn’t what I was expecting. The story unfolds when a city council member dies unexpectedly and a stable of other town folks jockey for position for the vacant seat. As expected though, everyone has some problems and issues (some much worse than others), but just like reality, everybody has their own political agenda as well. Those backstories are what drives the novel and the story.
Unfortunately, I could not find one likable character for much of the book. You could say that it was not my kind of story, which would be fair, but I can appreciate where the story was heading. Eventually, I warmed up to a few of the characters, and the end actually had an emotional impact upon me. I was surprised at “The Casual Vacancy,” that much is fair to say.
From a writing perspective, the book is extremely impressive from a woman who made a living writing about wizards, witches, and muggles beforehand. I thought of the story starting out as a large circle that tightened up just a bit in every following chapter. While the characters do not really cross paths much in the beginning, they come a step closer together with every turn of the page.
Is the book dry? Well, Potter fans are probably going to think so. There are no magic spells and no Hogwarts for the residents of the city in question, Pagford. Initially, I found “The Casual Vacancy” hard to ready, because the people were not really what I considered interesting, which is actually the most impressive quality they possessed looking back.
As the story progresses and lives get shattered and lives get made as a result of the unexpected death, I just watched the dominoes fall. It’s actually a bit amazing that an author like Rowling, with so much fame and fortune from Harry Potter, is actually able to relate to the goings on in a small town and get the normal details correct. Perhaps I am being a bit unfair to JK, but sometimes the rich and famous have trouble relating to normal people.
So is “The Casual Vacancy” worth reading? Well, that’s an interesting question, but I am going to go with “Yes.” If for nothing else than for an interesting look at what could happen just because the stars for one person do not align properly.