The Casual Vacancy

Thoughts  The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling, eBook/iPadKindleApp, Little Brown 2012, 506 pages

I read this under protest because I really wasn’t interested AND I thought we were trying to only read cheap (ie NOT hardback) books in bookclub. I didn’t want to purchase the eBook* but I had to since the BOOK book was pricier.

Realizing I was being unreasonable, I started to read. Two weeks later, I was mired in characters with few redeeming values – JUST AS I WAS EXPECTING. I didn’t want to read about politics and pettiness! Realizing some more that perhaps I was being prejudiced, I let myself go with the flow and get into the story.

Three-fourths in and I was impressed with Rowling’s characterization. I was also feeling a smugness, an impression that the author was possibly quite proud of a few brilliant phrases. Whatever it is – my prejudice? Or JKR being too clever (again, is that me or her?), this book did not transport me fully into the story.

Until the last climatic scenes.

Even as I noticed that the pace picks up considerably, I was sucker-punched with emotions that had me trying NOT to cry and then sniffing and tearing-up and gulping. I was crying pretty good as quietly as I could because I was in the car and missing all the fun and familiar scenes of driving into downtown Kansas City. I had to stop 4 pages til the end and save them due to not wanting to be sitting in the car while the hotel valet waited for me to get out!

Which made those last pages a bit anticlimactic – – “uh, is that it?” Which I have to say was a good place and o.k. way to stop the story.

I give it 4 stars over 3 for making me cry.

I could bet that it was also because I was about to start this subbing job and knowing I would have get to work with teenagers. I was particularly struck by the thought about Barry being so good with people/teens; that the school counselor expressed the idea that these kinds should be required to work in high schools.

For other reviews, click this link to Firefly’s Book Blog Review Search Results.

I was also able to not take any print books with me on the Thanksgiving holiday (which I will chat about more later.)


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27 thoughts on “The Casual Vacancy

  1. Interesting. I haven’t felt compelled to read this one at all, even though I loved the HP books. The only way I’d read it now is if someone picked it for book club, so I see how you were strong armed into reading it.

    1. Oh yes, I was grumpy. I even drove quite a distant to be grumpy about it at a B&N, to glare at it and it’s 30% off coupon and still couldn’t be convinced it was going to be worth the money. But everyone else in club was quite excited about reading it.

  2. Well, it seems that book worked better for you than you thought! I’ve got a copy, we’re going to read it for book club, too. I have no preconceptions. I don’t cry, ever, about books and I’m not about to start. Am I? 🙂

    1. Yep, it ganged up on me somehow. Maybe it was all that misunderstood teenage angst and how it frightens me very very much. But you didn’t think it was believable, huh? I’m glad I don’t want to try to believe or not believe it.

    1. I might tbr a book based on it making someone cry but I usually don’t recall that going in. I try to forget why I wanted to read something and go in as blind as possible.

  3. ACk …. you just reminded me I need to write my review of this book. It isn’t a book I think anyone will LOVE but I liked it and listened to all 15 or so hours on audio with no problem. It is definitely a Muggle book and there are a lot of unlikable characters. But I didn’t hate it. I didn’t cry though … even though I got a bit verklempt in the very end.

  4. It hasn’t made it onto my TBR list yet. I’ve read too many books that made me blub recently, including the very wonderful audio The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, which I really need to write the review for.

  5. This does seem a book destined for book club attention. I think, on the whole, that puts me off as like you I am not keen on buying new hardbacks just to tick it off for the book club! Maybe I’ll flick through it when the hype has died down and the library copy is back on the shelves. I didn’t read Harry Potter so I’m still fairly open to Rowling as a novelist for grown ups but not in a rush to read her.

    1. Oh that’s right! I couldn’t check it out at the library because the waitlist was very long. Another reason I had to buy it.
      I just started the HP books this year. I need to read #5.

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