Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
A great story that also tackles plenty of heavy issues
on 9 April 2015
As the Harry Potter books aren’t really my thing, I hadn’t taken much notice of J K Rowling’s books; I may have heard of ‘The Casual Vacancy’ but I had no idea what it was about. This changed when I watched the first episode of a recent TV adaptation, it seemed as though 'The Casual Vacancy' might be right up my street and indeed it was!
I liked the book because it’s character-driven; it’s about life in a little provincial town called Pagford, and the interactions between its various inhabitants, from deep friendships to lifelong jealousies and rivalries, from teenage infatuations to adults wanting someone they’re not allowed to want. A lot of the characters are not very likeable, but this makes the novel realistic; in ‘real life’ we don’t like everyone we meet!
I liked this novel also because, although written for the most part in a light-hearted, frequently humorous, way, it has moral content and contains probably more than its fair share of very heavy, topical issues; domestic violence, child neglect and abuse, self-harm, rape, drug abuse, troubled families, I could go on…
I didn’t particularly like the manner of speaking which the author gives to Terry and Krystal Weedon. I don’t know whether it is an accurate portrayal of how people like Terry and Krystal do speak, but it just seemed a bit patronising possibly? Although encouraging sympathy and support for needy groups within the community, I did feel that ‘The Casual Vacancy’ maybe panders to the worst possible stereotypes of a certain section of the population: a large number of the Fields’ population we are told live on benefits (well, at least if Miles and his ilk are to be believed), drug abuse is a problem on the estate, the only Fields family, and arguably the only working-class family, which plays a large role in the book is the extremely troubled Weedon one. Not that the middle-classes are let off lightly either, but at least more than one type of middle-class person is depicted.
That said, I very much enjoyed reading this book; J K Rowling is a great storyteller and I look forward to checking out her crime fiction in the near future.