The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling This is a book that I really tried to start without any preconceived notions. I banned myself from reading any reviews of this book or any comments about it from other readers (the only thing I allowed myself to read was the book's summary). Basically what I tried to do was forget that J.K. Rowling was the author and to completely separate this book from the Harry Potter series.This book follows the lives of the citizens of a little town called Pagford. It shows how the people of Pagford move on after the death of Barry Fairbrother, a councillor of the parish council. The parish council had been teeming with drama over a lower-income area of Pagford called The Fields and the local drug rehab center, Bellchapel, and it only gets worse after Barry's death.When I first started reading this book I got a bit confused with who all the characters were. There are quite a few characters and the book changes point of view a lot so it does take some time to familiarize yourself with all the characters and how they relate with one another. J.K. Rowling was great with developing and fleshing out the characters throughout the book.The main theme that I really got out of this book was the struggle between the rich and the poor. The selfish and ignorant "rich" people of Pagford no longer want The Fields to be included in their town. Meanwhile the "poor" and hopeless people of The Fields are just looking to survive. What J.K. Rowling achieves brilliantly is her unveiling of the two groups to show just how similar they are. Both the rich of Pagford and the poor of The Fields have their own problems and their own battle scars. Neither is better or more perfect than the other.Unlike J.K. Rowling's previous books (which I swore to myself I wasn't going to mention) this book doesn't really have a happy ending, at least not for everyone. More tragedy is brought upon the town of Pagford and readers really get to see what certain characters are made of. While I enjoyed the ending it did feel a bit rushed and unresolved to me. It was a beautiful ending but I was still left with some questions.This would have been a book that I would have read whether or not J.K. Rowling was the author. I can see why people would be upset or disappointed in this book, especially if they didn't start reading it with an open mind. I enjoyed this book and would be willing to recommend it to others. I would recommend this book to someone who can look past the Harry Potter series and just judge the book on its own merits. Be warned though that this book has some highly adult subjects and children should probably not be reading this.