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The Casual Vacancy, a play-by-play review, part one.

I know I’m a bit late with this review, but I figured that I would start it up before the book club meeting. You know, because that’s considerate and jazz. This will be detailed as I go along, so y’all will be with me through the ride—which means this will be more than one post long, because, as you know, I need more series. Why not!? Warning, there will be spoilers and snark. Take heed.

503 pages? LET’S DO DIS.

The Casual Vacancy, part one, “Part One.”

Hope and dreams are within  this book. So many years of anticipation, so much riding on whether or not JKR will be able to move past one of my favorite literary series ever. I’m a member of Pottermore, have a collectors addition of HP books, my brother made me custom HP wands from a Maryland RenFair, I have all three of her additional HP material books, I even have a book of essays regarding crackpot theories relating to the Potterverse…to say that a lot is riding on this is an understatement.


Pg3: Barry is fucked.

Pg5: Called it!

Pg7: Miles is a freakin’ weirdo if he’s getting hot and bothered at the thought of telling someone that Barry died.

Pg9: “It was his first lie, […].” I call a creep like I see ‘em!

Pg11: This marriage is going to fail. I really hope there is another death involved, because both Miles and Sam are weird and obviously have fizzled. What’s a better way to spice up a marriage than murder?!

Pg13: Jeeezzz, I’m already sensing a theme. Everyone in this town is fucked up.

Pg16: Shirley Mollison, adopting her husband’s beliefs and vengeances because that’s what a good wife does. Well, they’re going to get on my nerves.

Pg18: Everyone referring to this dude’s death as “exciting” reaffirms my idea that little towns are damned creepy.

Pg22: Well, I never really knew how much I didn’t want to know the thoughts of a pubescent boy until now. Thanks.

Pg24: You know something is wrong when a dude doesn’t enjoy crazy monkey sex. Oh, what can it be? Another lady? Drugs? Another man? The suspense! Don’t let me down, Gavin.

Pg25: Dude, Kay, if the guy you love doesn’t introduce you to his friends, you’ve got a problem.

Pg28: But, Fats and Andrew, are your schoolbags slung over one shoulder or two!? I must know, ye almighty kewl kids.

Pg32: Dear JKR, I REALLY did not need an image of an obese man attempting to wash his penis. Ok? Ok.

Pg48: Ooooooooo! Barry’s been a bad, bad boy.

Summary of my feels: I’ve never yawned so much getting to the end of the first part of anything. This is not a good sign. I had an extremely hard time getting through Gone Girl because of how much I hated every single character and I’m feeling the same reaction here. The mostly likable character is the drug addled, promiscuous, abused, scarred, punk teen girl, with added bonus anger issues. I haven’t lost all hope, but I’m concerned. I know she needed to get all of the town personalities outlined, but holy moly, why does she need to make everyone so freaking horrible?


The Casual Vacancy, part two, “Olden Days.”

It’s still apparently Monday.

Pg53: I really hope that we’re hearing about the underlying tension between city-Yarvil and town-Pagford for a reason, because otherwise the immense boredom I’m feeling will have been for naught and then I’ll be sad. Please, please, somehow be connected to the murder and not just JKR filling in backstory which I loved in HP but find tedious right now.

Pg56: Okay, I get it. Pagford residents are pissed at the Yarvilians because of riffraff. I’m just imagining canes being shaken and high-pitched Get off my lawn!s. Admittedly, this is kind of hilariously epic. Oh, Howard, you old goon, you.

Pg62: Man, Howard, you’re a shady, angry MFer.


Pg68: All criticism up until this point aside, leave it to JKR to describe one of the most depressing scenes ever flawlessly. Poor, poor Kay.

Pg75: Fats is so painfully unlikeable that his probable descent into serial-killing madness will rival the predictability of a Criminal Minds episode.

Pg78: Soooo Krystal Weedon may be a little, teeeeeny bit loose. Sure, she may be boning the repugnant Fats soon She’s still the most likeable person in this whole thing, and I’m sticking to it!

Pg83: Kay is making me more and more depressed with every chapter surrounding her back story. Of course, she always dates the wrong guys. Of course, her daughter is at best a brat. Of course, she’s a social worker who gets emotionally and mentally shit on from day to day. Of course, Gavin is turning out to be a giant dick. Of course.

Pg85: This book is rife with daddy issues, dude.

Pg88: Fats’ real name is Stuart, furthering the BF’s theory that all Stuarts in media, minus maybe Stuart Little, are all bastard assholes.

Pg92: “And how’s the brassiere business, Sammy? Breasting the recession all right?” “Business is surprisingly bouncy, actually, Howard.” The amount of fail in this exchange actually made me laugh. I love bad puns.

Pg94: Samantha’s my kinda gal. You keep sluggin’ back that wine! Fuck the police!

Pg98: OH MAN, EMBARRASSING SECRET AHEAD! Oh Tessa, what have you done? Please describe it to me in vivid, delicious detail. However, knowing how most mysteries work, we’ll have to wait at least 150 more pages to find out, especially because of the ~darkness~ of it all. Siiii-iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

Alright, and that’s the end of Tuesday and the start of Wednesday, where I’m going to call it a day.

Summary of my feels: I have a feeling that the story is still revving up, so I’m not going to come out and say that it’s boring or dull. JKR is throwing in some bones of gossip and typical small-town fucked-up-shit-ness, it just remains to be seen how everything is going to connect to each other. Considering the 400 pages left in the novel, this is planned and it is wise, but I’m wondering how it relates to an (probably murderously triggered) aneurism. I’m compelled to keep reading, which is a good sign, yet worried that it is all going to be pretentious, rich people problem drudgery. Don’t let me down, JKR!

How do you all feel about the book so far? Does it keep you interested?


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