I loved this book because it is still J.K. Rowling in all of her easy-to-read, witty glory but it is so different from Harry Potter. A lot of people will probably hate this book for that very same reason. But I am absolutely thrilled that the author of one of the best fantasy series ever (my humble opinion and all that...) has proved her worth as an author yet again by putting together such a large book, in scope and in size, that captivates without a single touch of fantasy and some very heavy doses of bitter reality.
Yeah, I know, Harry Potter did touch on some very real subjects like death, abuse, and racism but the fantasy setting leavened the moral lessons for the young adult set. The Casual Vacancy pulls no such punches. The reality of life and all the disenchantment that can entail slaps you right across the face from the opening chapter. Like The Snow Child, I'm going to warn you that this book is not a happy-go-lucky, feel good book. It's bittersweet; although it didn't reduce me to uncontrollable sobs, it did make me rather pensive and misty-eyed. POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: It ends just like it begins, with a funeral.
It would be nearly impossible for me to accurately summarize the plot, there are so many story lines interwoven with each other and so many great (and sometimes gut-wrenchingly broken) characters involved. The plot revolves around the untimely death of a local councilman and the subsequent election for his empty council seat, but there is so much more involved. This is really a novel about relationships: parents and children, kids and their friends, in-laws, husbands and wives, and sometimes people with their memories.
|Yep, life can suck and be hard and be so accurately transcribed to paper.|
I was most definitely pleased with Ms. Rowling's foray into adult fiction. I say "bravo"!