Monday, February 18, 2013

the casual vacancy

Happy Monday, Everyone!
I hope you are all enjoying this President's Day. Federal holidays don't mean much when you don't have a job to go to or kids to get to school, so it's just been business as usual for us today.


My poor baby had to have 3 shots today!
Any mother can tell you how upsetting it is to watch their child be in pain, but let me tell you. I was feeling violent towards that nurse. I know she was just doing her job, and I know she was probably as gentle as she could be, but when she jabbed that needle into that chunky little baby thigh, I imagined myself judo chopping her.

And when baby D's eyes shot open in surprise, his faced turned red as he screamed bloody murder, and he looked at me with the, "How could you do this to me, Mommy?" face, I had to literally restrain myself from going Kill Bill on this woman.


Now that you all know how incredibly violent my inner dialogue is, let's get to the book review!!! :)

Book: The Casual Vacancy
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Fiction, Tragedy
Series: None
Pages: 503

This is the highly anticipated "adult novel" by J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series (if you don't know that, then welcome to Earth, little alien). 
If you thought this book was going to be similar to Harry Potter, you will be sorely disappointed. 

The story is set in the parish of Pagford, a tiny little town in England. The fact that it is set in England is where any Harry Potter similarities disappear.

Barry Fairbrother is a councilman on the Parish Council, a highly sought after position in Pagford. When he suddenly drops dead (not a spoiler, it happens in the first chapter) the council is left with what's known as a casual vacancy
What follows is a campaign of various families in Pagford for that council seat. These citizens are not above backstabbing, lying, and cheating to make sure their candidate gets the position. 

Here is an excerpt:

The news of Barry Fairbrother's sudden demise lay in her lap like a fat new baby to be gloated over by all her acquaintances; and she would be the fount, the source, for she was first, or nearly so, to receive the news.
None of the delight frothing and fizzing inside Shirley had been apparent while Howard had been in the room. They had merely exchanged the comments proper to sudden death before he had taken himself off to the shower. Naturally Shirley had known, as they slid stock words and phrases back and forth between them like beads on an abacus, that Howard must be as brimful of ecstasy as she was; but to express these feelings out loud, when the news of the death was still fresh in the air, would have been tantamount to dancing naked and shrieking obscenities, and Howard and Shirley were clothed, always, in an invisible layer of decorum that they never laid aside."

As you can see, the style of writing is a bit more verbose than we are used to seeing in the Harry Potter series; perhaps Rowling was trying a little too hard to appeal to an adult audience?

My take on this book is that it is extremely petty (as you can most likely tell from the excerpt). Every character is obsessed with themselves to no end, and that all comes to a head in the last chapter, when a completely avoidable tragedy occurs. If the characters had only taken their heads out of their own ass, the book would have had a totally different ending, one I probably would have enjoyed more. 
When I finished this book, I was left feeling like it was all just a waste. The ending is NOT what you'd expect, and I almost felt like I had wasted my time. 

Sooo not what I expected from Ms. Rowling.

However, the question has been posed, "Is it always the failure of the author, if we don't like the book? Or sometimes, could it be our failure as a reader?"

Um, no. 

The point of reading is to enjoy it, if I'm not mistaken. This book made me want to judo-chop J.K. Rowling.

(I just want to judo-chop everyone today)

So my recommendation for this lovely novel is a big, fat, NO!

1 comment:

  1. haha I love all the different chopping moves! Sad this book isnt better...