The Casual Vacancy – J K Rowling
Another filler as well as I was very keen on knowing – what J K Rowling has written after the much loved Harry Potter series and three additional reference book, even those were good if not great. Unfortunately this one is no patch on her earlier works and a total turn off. This also became one of those very few books which I sort of though of abandoning twice – first when I was almost 1/3rd the way and second after 200 odd pages – imagine its a 370 page book. That typical Rowling magic was missing, but I kept going hoping it will change and I may end up liking the story as it develops but no ways – it picks up almost after 300 odd pages as story starts coming to a predictable conclusion but by that time it was too late I had almost lost all interest and just wanted it to end.
One thing that I disliked big time (will not call hated it) is Ms Rowling’s desperate attempt to make it a book for adults which was visible right from the very start to the very end. Current generation kids (Brits in here) as per the book are gone to the dogs, taking drugs, not listening to neither their parents nor teachers, child abuse, rape, prostitution and what not, rather almost all the teenagers in the story has some vendetta against their own parents who in place are screwing their own neighbors all the time – one way or other. And lets not even talk about Sex, I was totally shocked with her detailing, it wasn’t not only the biggest turn off but was cringworthy as well, I just couldn’t understand why she had to get to that level of details, totally looked forced. Also I need to mention this that one of the lead girls (father unknown) in the story had only one target, to get pregnant by a guy who is from a well to do family so his family could support her and her infant brother who is abused by a drug peddler, a regular supplier to her mother. I just couldn’t believe or imagine what Rowling was trying to portray through this book, as it all happens in a town which is like 50 miles from London and that too in current time as all the kids have cell phones and they text each other.
The only good thing about the whole book and story was its hero – Barry Fairbrother the Parish Counselor whose unfortunate death (on the first page) opens up the “Casual Vacancy” in the Parish Council for which his allies as well as enemies are fighting. He is the only one who could keep the whole town together and take them forward towards a better future. He was loved and respected not only by kids but the adults too. The position that he holds had the power to make or break the future of the sleepy town and its neighborhood town and fields. The way story goes forward from this point onward and various characters are introduced – it actually becomes confusing at one point to keep a track of all of them, fortunately the kids track kept me going. Also there is this Indian origin family too “The Jawanda’s” who play an important part in the narrative who is called “Paki” by everyone else – I believe Brits cant make out the difference between a Paki and a Sikh from India. But this family’s detailing is the high point of the whole book – the way Rowling delves into their past, religion and all is too good, I was delightedly surprised by her research on Sikh’s and mention of Guru Gobind Singh and a little of their religion’s story.
So, if you haven’t heard or read this book yet – ignore it as you are not missing anything. I will read just one more from her before discarding remaining of her books without reading. As I have her “Galbraith Series” books with me too :(.