Excellent use of her fame and sizeable audience...and a great bit of literature too.,
This review is from: The Casual Vacancy (Kindle Edition)
The poor reviews are to be expected as it is more than likely that many people who bought Harry Potter for their children have probably gone on to buy it and not liked the undeniable ribbing Middle England get in this book (disclaimer - I don't believe only people in 'Middle England' bought Harry Potter books or this book). Although I have to say that I laughed loudly when I read the review which said that Rowling had used 'The Casual Vacancy' to talk about all the sordid things she couldn't in Harry Potter. That so could have come from the mouth of Shirley Mollison in this book. Hilarious...
The characters are incredibly acutely observed and I am sure if you read it you will recognise people you know in each of them. Yes, even the poor, heaven forbid! Which is, I think, the greatest strength of this novel; it is about class but it, like Barry Fairbrother himself, transcends class; showing that there is reasoning behind all our actions and humanity in most of us. Krystal Weedon is angry and a bully because she is having to juggle a drug-taking mother and toddler brother at home (trying to save him from going into care) and because she is aware she is looked down on (the only kid not invited to the party). Yet she is the only kid that saves Andrew when he has a nut allergy...and is so loyal to those that show her love. Even the prudish Shirley has her reasons for the front she puts on - she is trying to escape from any similarity to her mother whose promiscuity embarrassed her.
So for all that Rowling ridicules in this book in the end she really does treat each character sympathetically. But we are left in no doubt as to who the 'real' victims are; seeing what Krystal and her brother go through really does show that the 'squeezed middle' of the book are in all honesty not too badly off even when we do understand (not excuse) their motivations.
And apart from her deft touch with character and a political hot potato she also handles a complex plot structure (I lost count on the number of narrative perspectives) so well that you hardly notice it after a few chapters.
I absolutely applaud J K Rowling for the risk she has taken with this book and for what she has tried to achieve through it and through her fame and ready-made audience. Not to mention that the monies from the ebook version have been donated to the charity she founded which tries to keep children out of institutions and with families - Lumos. So actions as well as words. Honestly I am so impressed with what she has done and also what the book achieves as both a social commentary and as a piece of literature. Hope you do too!