When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
While I have been curious about Rowling’s new book, the plot didn’t seem that engaging to me. So, I have been wavering about reading it. I have loved her writing in the past, and have read the Harry Potter series several times, but I was a little dubious about her first book written for adults. After reading my friend Megan’s review on it, my mind was made up. Megan has been an English teacher and is an avid reader. I trust and value her opinions on books, and have determined that this doesn’t sound like a book I need to read. Her review follows. I hope it helps gives insight into her Rowling’s book!
Guest Review by Megan
J.K. Rowling’s latest novel is a compelling story of the downfalls of class distinction, small-town pettiness, troubled marriages, troubled teens, and the effects of abuse and poverty. It is raw and painful; an insight into the struggles of people with no meaning in their lives beyond what is here and now. J.K. Rowling is an amazing author, but I was so disappointed that her first ‘adult’ novel was so full of gratuitous smut. Harry Potter went through life at Hogwarts never once having to relieve himself or take a bath, but in this novel we get descriptions of every sort of nastiness out there. The main characters were supposed to be the adults, but Rowling’s teens are the driving force in this novel, as well as the source of most of the vulgarity and disgusting behavior. Why is it that today’s authors seem to feel the need to add vulgarity and smut to their work in order to be read? The Casual Vacancy covers nearly all of humanity’s ills in lurid detail. I can fully understand drug abuse, pornography, teen sexuality, child abuse, infidelity, and pedophilia without being dragged into the back bedroom to witness it. The last third of the book told the same story without all of the x-rated descriptions that were shockingly present in the early pages. I won’t allow my girls to read it, and my brand-new hardcover is going up for sale. I am so disappointed.
Megan’s rating: 3