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Author: J. K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: September 27, 2012
Genre: Adult Fiction, British Literature, Social Commentary
Pages: 503
Buy: The Book Depository

It’s like meeting an old friend after you’ve both grown so much.

The first thought I had of this book is how much I’ve missed reading J. K. Rowling. I love her writing style and it has only matured with this novel. The way she writes is both simplistic and yet descriptive and detailed enough that conjuring the image of the story in your head is so easy. The way she writes make characters come to life. You feel how they feel and know the pain or pleasure they are experiencing. I had missed her writing style and her work, and the start of the book reminded me of all the times I have picked up a new Harry Potter book. Of course, this joy was quickly surpassed by shock in the intensity of her writing. The Casual Vacancy is a book for adults. And I don’t mean that sex or adult things are mentioned; I mean there are things that only adults should read. For one, the word vulva, erection and fucker were used (to say that took me by surprise is an understatement). It took me about 1/3 of the book to get used to the fact that J. K. was writing such things.

When I first picked up the book I had the impression that this book was a murder mystery. I was quite mistaken. The best genre I could label it was something Isis had said; it’s a book a social commentary and I think that is a perfect description. The book starts with a very broad overview of a small town and the outlying neighborhoods. Everything seems perfect on the surface, but once you get down to the itty bitty details, things tend to fall apart. As the book progresses you are taken deeper and deeper into the inner happenings of this small town and its residents. You fall in love with some characters and want to bash other characters in the head (Simon and Shirley). I may have liked this book more than others because I like juicy gossip sometimes. I also enjoy people watching so reading a very well written book about the inner workings of people’s lives was fun for me. Though I do have to say that if it was written by anyone but J. K. I may not have liked the book as much. I also liked how J. K. would either reference or hint to the next person’s perspective; so you always knew who you were going to read about next.

One of the few things I didn’t enjoy was the rape scene. Now this is more of a personal issue than anything; however I do think that it was a necessary plot turn for the story. It did all seem to come together at the end – although I was a bit unhappy with some of the outcomes. This book was filled with many heavy issues and topics though. It makes you sit and think about your life and also makes you wonder about the lives of others. It makes you appreciate the strength of some people to still put a smile on their face even with all the things they have to deal with at home.  So if you’re hoping this will be a simple and casual read – it is anything but that.

Although this was NOTHING like what I was expecting, J. K. has still not let me down with the amazing stories she has to tell and the deeper meanings hidden behind every word. Well done, J. K. Well done.

My rating: ★★★★★

(Emoticon rating system)