Review – The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

  • Title: The Casual Vacancy
  • Author:  J.K. Rowling
  • Series: None
  • Source: Library

Description from Goodreads:


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?


Let me preface this by saying that I read this book solely because it was written by J.K. Rowling. The description did not really appeal to me, but since I loved her writing in Harry Potter so much, I felt I had to give it a try. Maybe I would be pleasantly surprised?

I wasn’t. I have read books that have handled touchy subjects and adult issues and enjoyed them. But I just found something missing here. First, I found that there were too many characters. I found myself often flipping back to other sections to remind myself who they were. I was probably at least 150 pages in before I could keep them all straight.

Second, I just didn’t feel like there was a major plot. I couldn’t really figure out what the point was? People fight? Bad things happen to people? I honestly didn’t get it. And because I couldn’t find a major plot/conflict, I also didn’t find much of a conclusion.

Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely some parts of this book that had me flipping feverishly and parts that brought tears to my eyes, but most of it just felt like a struggle. Honestly, if it had been written by any other author, I would not have finished it.

As far as the ending, again, I didn’t get it. It didn’t really tie anything up, and I wonder how she decided where to end this story.

In short, as much as I wanted to love this book, I just was not impressed.

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