For all of those out there who were drawn in or inspired by the Harry Potter series there is the question of whether or not to read J.K. Rowling’s new book “Casual Vacancy”. I happened to be one of the brave souls that not only feels a connection and loyalty to Rowling, but also just happens to like reading anything and everything. So why not?
I have to be honest. For me, it was a page turner. I literally finished it in 3 days and it is a bulking 503 pages long (not really that long but the book itself looks daunting in size). So, that has to tell you something, right? Sadly, the main reason I read it so fast was because I wanted to know what happens next. Why is this sad? Well, the ending was not what I expected. Which is, I think, a good and bad thing. I kept telling myself in the middle of the book that if she did not end this perfectly it would have been a total waste of time reading it.
If you have read any of the reviews on “Casual Vacancy” they are all pretty grim. They would and probably have turned many readers away from this book. But, I am definitely not a fan of critics, so this did not stop me from reading.
I really do not want to give the book away in any way at all, but I do have one thing to say. Some people won’t like it, but I did. I thought I wouldn’t, especially as I sat there crying towards the end of it(which usually is a good thing if a book makes me cry, even though I hate it at the time). If I could describe this book in any way it would be with one word- “REAL”. This book is so very, very real. Almost a slap in the face. Sure, there are some things that I did not necessarily care for (like her crude language in some of it-but isn’t that real too? It wasn’t the unnecessary crudeness some authors use for the shock-factor by any means. I think it was just a shock remembering this was the same author of the fairly demure Harry Potter books as far as crude language goes). But gosh it is real. For me, she hit my core. That really soft spot that you try and ignore, ignore all the crappiness there is within yourself and society. But I still liked it. The characters were real, and I really wanted to know that they would all be okay. Initially, I thought the ending was cruel because you wanted more, but at the same time, I think she ended it perfectly.
So, these are my thoughts on J.K. Rowling’s book. I think she said it best herself,
“I don’t think everyone will like the book,” she says. “But I’m proud of this book. I like this book. It is what it’s meant to be. As an author, you really can’t say more than that. I don’t mean this arrogantly, but if people don’t like it, well, that’s how it should be, isn’t it? That’s art. It’s all subjective. And I can live with that.”
People have compared it to a Dicken’s novel, and I would have to agree in some ways. I know many people my age reading it will be squirming to see this new side of Rowling, but as a fellow wanna-be-writer, I am proud of her and I commend her on another job well done. We may miss Harry Potter, but Rowling has always had a knack of wonderful characterization and story-telling that will satisfy for many more pages to come. So, if you have any urge to give it a shot but are holding back, I say go for it. I am happy that I did. Just be prepared for reality, not an imaginary escape.
Here is a clip from an interview (and can I just say she is just amazing, I can’t help but love her as a person… judge me if you must). I also am including a few reviews that I thought were more relevant and less harsh. I thought they were worthy of mentioning, the link is http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/books/review/the-casual-vacancy-by-j-k-rowling.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 from The New York Times.
**I also suggest going to goodreads.com and reading reviews from readers. I think they hit it on the nail as well. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13497818-the-casual-vacancy