The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
I love Harry Potter. No shame! The first book came out when I was ten years old, and after a couple of months of it sitting on my bedside table and me thinking I was too cool for magic, I finally succumbed to the glorious world of Hogwarts, muggles and quidditch. I've read each book at least twice and can think of nothing I love more than sitting in my PJs on a Sunday afternoon watching the films! When I heard J.K. Rowling had released a novel for adults (note: not an adult novel) I was excited and anxious in equal measures. The hype surrounding The Casual Vacancy was huge, and again after months of putting it off I bought a copy and popped it in my rucksack for Malaysia.
Now, let me start off my saying I liked this book. It took me bloody ages to read, as I wouldn't exactly say it's 'unputadownable' (technical term), but I liked it. I did feel, at times, that nothing happened however! The story starts with the death of Barry Fairbrother, which sends the village of Pagford into tail-spin over who will take his seat in the Parish council - a matter which caused a huge divide. This story talks you through a community's attempt to replace Barry Fairbrother, whilst at the same time showing you the mundane everyday of Pagford, and the not-so-mundane life of the individuals who inhabit it. Like in the Harry Potter novels, Rowling is excellent at bringing her characters to life, until you really feel like you know them. Although there were times this felt slow paced, the ending was just... wow. I've never felt so shocked by an ending! Overall I enjoyed this book, if perhaps a little long.
I still will find it hard to come to terms with Rowling describing oral sex, and dropping the C bomb by page sixteen... whadda woman. I'm looking forward to trying her crime novel next!