The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling
it would be hard to make this review without first acknowledging the miserable children who picked this book up without reading the synopsis. Because they're fucking stupid and believe that all a writer should do is devote their life to one series, they have made themselves unhappy by not simply reading the series one more time and trying something else besides warm wish fulfillment and fantasy.

If I were J. K. Rowling, I think that I would pull a Paul Sheldon and just fucking kill Harry Potter in one last book at this point, when I realize that everything else I ever write will be hoped by fans to secretly be a Harry Potter fucking book. The fans who wish for a writer to remain mired in their favorite universe are insidious and selfish - she gave you a universe that apparently gave you great joy, but your idea of thanking her is to make her feel as though she is beholden to only write that series for eternity and to chastise her for attempting ANYTHING else. I think this attitude may be attributed to the fact that these people have only read the books their high school teacher has assigned them along with the Harry Potter series, and don't realize that J. K. Rowling necessarily has a choke-hold on their reading material, because trying out an author that they have not been told is "cool" to read is a prospect that they have no desire to surmount.

Now, for the ADULTS in the audience (or, at least, the kids out there who don't care how much their peers guffaw at them for reading *A Clockwork Orange* or Kurt Vonnegut) I would like to say that if you enjoy stuff like Anton Chekhov's *The Cherry Orchard*, then please, give this book a go. If you think, after having read *The Cherry Orchard* that "nothing happened" then you're just shit out of luck with this book. And you also lack the ability to deal with subtlety.

Subtlety is the currency in this book, set in the slowly eroding town of Pagford. Put in the simplest of terms, Barry Fairbrother was the only truly good adult in this town, and with him may have just gone the only hope that the town had of remaining a place worthy of saying that you were born in. Although his wishes in desires in life seem to stupefy those he left behind, as we see the machinations of the citizens of Pagford as they disassemble everything he cared about while also tremendously failing the next generation of Pagfordians in a rather spectacular fashion, Fairbrother may have been trying to fix some oncoming catastrophe that is set to destroy the goodness that he tried to plant firmly in the town's ground.

Remember when I likened this book to a play? There's a reason for that - I feel as though this book would make a very interesting play. This does mean that I would have to say that I would prefer to see something like this in a play format than as the book it currently is, but it would be a good drama if set with the right actors and planned for correctly.

One of the major problem with this book is that it is quite unnecessarily girthy, and filled with some content that is not important to the work as a whole. That being said, I would like to applaud Rowling for exercising her wonderful ability at storytelling in this book, as she makes even the sometimes mundane seem telling of what it is that a character feels deep inside of them.

A tying theme to the book as a whole is a feeling that characters constantly miss their chances at changing things for the better or avoiding an unpleasant or horrific situation. If you can deal with the dark overtones and what Rowling seems to be suggesting about human nature, the payoff is worth the fluff you have to get through to get to it.

Although Rowling's latest book has its flaws, any lover of drama or tragedy would be foolish to ignore such a strong offering from such a beloved author.