By: Sianna Mata
Casual Vacancy’s author, J.K. Rowling, took a big step with writing this book. Rowling is well known for writing the hit “Harry Potter” series, but she wished to expand her possibilities outside of the young adult fantasy genre. She did exactly that with this tragicomedy. Rowling made the transition to adult novels flawlessly, and really struck gold with this book.
Casual Vacancy takes place in a small England town, named Pagford. On the surface COMMA Pagford seems like any other boring small town, but underneath the nice façade trouble is brewing. Within the council there is conflict concerning the run–down part of town known as “The Fields.” In the eye’s of a lot of the council membersCOMMA all The Fields does is ruin the town’s reputation. It’s not well maintained, there is graffiti all over the place, to put it lightly, it is the “ghetto” part of town, many just want to give that part of town to the neighboring city of Yarvil, but others, particularly Barry Fairbrother, thought it was worth cleaning up that part of town and keeping it part of Pagford. RUN ON Before a decision is made Fairbrother dies, and so it seemed that the chance of The Fields remaining part of Pagford went with him. But soon after Fairbrother’s death, rumors start leaking on to the Pagford Council website, damaging the reputations of several council members. One especially affected was the unofficial council leader, and The Fields strongest opposer, Howard Mollison. As secrets begin to be revealed the town is turned upside downCOMMA and it’s pretty mask disintegrates.
This story is told in narratives of different characters, this format helps the reader see all the drama hiding within the shadows of Pagford. Teenagers set against their parents, parents not caring for their children, and spouses falling for someone who was not their own. This story hooks you with all the drama, the romance, the tragic back stories, the juicy secrets, and everything in between.
Being an adult novel, this book has a lot of mature themes such as drug use, and sexual content. Though a very well-written book, it should only be enjoyed by the mature mind. Along with the adult content, the plot develops at a pace that will not appeal to the short attention span so often found in adolescents.