Tales Untangled's Reviews > The Casual Vacancy

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
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Oct 14, 2012

did not like it
Read in September, 2012

WARNING!!! This book is full of cursing and rather explicit sexually and drugs. DO NOT think you are in for something delightful like Harry Potter. And under no circumstances should you give this one to your children to read.

If possible I would have given this book no stars.

I am so disappointed in J.K. Rowling, I expected so much more from the author who had enchanted the world. I could not read this book. I cannot recommend this book.

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Comments (showing 1-21 of 21) (21 new)

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Kris Irvin My grandma bought it thinking it would be good for her, she doesn't like Harry Potter but does like JK Rowling in general. Luckily I borrowed it before she read it. Now I have the task of informing her just how much swearing and explicitness is in here. I, too, am disappointed. I feel betraaayed.


Brandon Why would you feel betrayed? Rowling never made a promise to not use profanity.


message 3: by Kris (last edited Oct 21, 2012 02:04PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kris Irvin Brandon wrote: "Why would you feel betrayed? Rowling never made a promise to not use profanity."

True, and I don't mind profanity in general. But the amount of profanity, and the way it's used in this book is ludicrous. I agree with the multiple reviewers who've said it feels like Rowling is using the language/sexual/graphicness in this book just to say "SEE I CAN BE A GROWN UP!"

Oh, and I feel betrayed because this book isn't very good in general. One of my favorite authors has written a book that is just boring and lame. That makes me sad.


Paristexas It's a book about reality. If you think it's over the top, get out of Pagford once in a while.


message 5: by Brandon (last edited Nov 18, 2012 09:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brandon Kris wrote: "Brandon wrote: "Why would you feel betrayed? Rowling never made a promise to not use profanity."

True, and I don't mind profanity in general. But the amount of profanity, and the way it's used in..."


I honestly don't see how anyone could walk away from this book thinking it was lame. I'll admit that the first 100 pages in, I was a bit worried for her, but the climax is phenomenal, and the overall message is something that every grown up should know and should implement into their lives.

I find that people who complain about profanity are people who, unfortunately, live with a very narrow-minded view of how the world works, and I think any rejection of that harsh reality is ignorant and foolish.


Tales Untangled I felt betrayed because I expected a wonderful, delicious book that I would enjoy for years to come instead of trash.

I do not use profanity in my life, but I do not expect an author to live to my standards. In fact, I am not offended by some profanity in a book because it is part of the reality of life, but it can go over the top for me. To think that someone is narrow-minded because they don't enjoy profanity seems rather judgemental and ignorant. :)

I love a well written book. I loved Ender's Game which also has a lot of harsh language. I hope that helps you understand another point of view better.


message 7: by Ravenous (new)

Ravenous Biblioworm This book fits into the literary genre. Which in the literature world is gold. Genre categories such as fantasy or young adult are typically considered trash (of which Harry potter fits into both and ender's end). So instead you just like trash books. I don't know where the idea of something like Harry potter could ever be gleamed off the synopsis and its was heavily emphasized in press this was going to be vastly different and more literary. But I don't blame you. I too dislike this book, not because it's trash but because I had a hard time liking the characters and it's in a genre ( literary fiction) that I hardly read and hardly enjoy.


message 8: by Ravenous (new)

Ravenous Biblioworm Ops forgot to mention, I like trash books ( young adult, science fiction, and fantasy) too!


Tales Untangled Ravenous wrote: "Ops forgot to mention, I like trash books ( young adult, science fiction, and fantasy) too!"

The question to me, is what constitutes literature. I feel like literature explores themes of the human condition. Books like Les Miserables, The Count of Monte Cristo and To Kill A Mockingbird are all considered literature and I love them. There are other pieces of literature that I don't love, but I can appreciate, such as, Orwell's 1984. I maintain my stance that The Casual Vancancy is trash because it felt like the sexuality was there for shock value and didn't serve a greater purpose. I like books that you are classifying as trash too, however, I call them fluff. One of my guilty pleasure authors is Anne McCaffrey. Her books have no literary value, but I sure love them occasionally.


message 10: by Tales (new) - rated it 1 star

Tales Untangled Ravenous wrote: "Ops forgot to mention, I like trash books ( young adult, science fiction, and fantasy) too!"
I forgot to mention that I was not expecting something like Harry Potter, just something that was delightful and interesting to read.


message 11: by Tales (new) - rated it 1 star

Tales Untangled Kris wrote: "My grandma bought it thinking it would be good for her, she doesn't like Harry Potter but does like JK Rowling in general. Luckily I borrowed it before she read it. Now I have the task of informi..."

I'm sorry I haven't replied sooner. I am glad that you checked out the book first to see if your grandma would like it.

If you want a suggestion, there are many women I know who have enjoyed the Mitford series if your grandma is a Christian (I quite liked this one too). My mom and I also enjoyed I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I can't say too much and spoil one of my favorite parts, but I at will say that the large rubber boots out in the field at night created an interesting visual experience. (I know that is vague, but if you read the book you will get it.) Good Reading!


message 12: by Ravenous (new)

Ravenous Biblioworm Tales wrote: "Ravenous wrote: "Ops forgot to mention, I like trash books ( young adult, science fiction, and fantasy) too!"

The question to me, is what constitutes literature. I feel like literature explores th..."


Yeah, I can see how you felt that way about those scenes... I'm on the fence on those as I feel I can make an argument for or against... and so I decided they were just poorly executed. But then if you finsihed the book, you made it further than me... I quit around page 250 or so...

Haha, I actually liked 1984 (and To Kill a Mockingbird) and detested Les Miserables and Count. I haven't read McCaffrey in awhile (recent years), though I remember loving her as a kid.


message 13: by Tales (new) - rated it 1 star

Tales Untangled No I couldn't finish this one. There are only about four books that I haven't finished in my life. I find it amusing that you detested Les Mis and Count when those are some of my favorites.


Caitlin I'm not sure what you find delightful about a double murder in the first chapter of book 1?

Rowling does not disappoint, and this novel has clearly been marketed to an adult audience.


message 15: by Tales (new) - rated it 1 star

Tales Untangled There were things in the Harry Potter series that weren't delightful, and the double murder is definitely on that list. Delightful things would include : a toothpick for a Christmas present, hair that grows as soon as it is cut, crazy incantations, interesting names ie- Luna Lovegood, magical creatures and certainly muggles. I'm glad you enjoyed The Casual Vacancy, though I did not.


Caitlin Agree to disagree!

While the subject matter varies greatly between the HP series and Vacancy, the characters and narrative are equal. To say that Rowling disappoints doesn't do her work justice. Her characters are just as rich, just as life-like whether the subject interests the reader or not. The narrative sends a message deeper than the surface. These qualities are the mark of a great author.

Sorry you didn't like it!


message 17: by Tales (new) - rated it 1 star

Tales Untangled I couldn't get past the language that felt like it was there for shock value more than characterization to find the value in the book that you saw. Obviously there are many who are enjoying Rowling's new book.


message 18: by Cory (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cory It's so funny that you expect that heroin users, thieves, and children living in the projects would not use profanity in their dialogue. I can understand that you don't care for cursing; many people do not. Blaming Rowling for "excessive use of profanity" is ridiculous. It would have been out of character for many characters in this book to not be profane.

If you went into this expecting the wholesome world of Harry, you have no one but yourself to blame.


message 19: by Tales (new) - rated it 1 star

Tales Untangled Cory wrote: "It's so funny that you expect that heroin users, thieves, and children living in the projects would not use profanity in their dialogue. I can understand that you don't care for cursing; many peopl..."

Cory wrote: "It's so funny that you expect that heroin users, thieves, and children living in the projects would not use profanity in their dialogue. I can understand that you don't care for cursing; many peopl..."

Any way you slice it I didn't like the book. I've read many books that deal with tough situations and are better written. I'm glad you enjoyed the book.


Brandon I still maintain that calling this book trash is unjust and as ludicrous as the language and sexuality you're complaining about. It's fine to say that it's not something that interests you, or that it makes you uncomfortable, but to discard it as trash is ridiculous. This book's message is clear: you don't know what people are going through, so stop, and think, before you pass judgement on someone. It tackles substance abuse, poverty, self-harm, racism, homophobia, class warfare, etc in a very real and provoking way. It's anything but trash. It's a triumph in contemporary British literature.


message 21: by Tales (new) - rated it 1 star

Tales Untangled Isn't it said, "One man's trash is another man's treasure"?

Thank you for your comments and the best of reading to you.


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