The Casual Vacancy Book Review: The JK Rowling Book That Harry Potter Fans Will Hate

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m obsessed with Harry Potter. I own a pair of plastic Potter glasses. I considered Hermione as a middle name for my baby (don’t worry, I had a boy). I once stood in line at the Astor Place Barnes and Noble at midnight to get the latest installment of my beloved series (I was 24. Everyone else was 16). It was there, in New York, that I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time, in the wake of September 11th. Call it a lifeline, call it escapism — I devoured every page of the series without even realizing how important Harry’s world would eventually become to me. A few years later, I couldn’t have imagined a life where the word “Hogwarts” wasn’t part of the everyday vernacular. Often dark, even heartbreaking, Harry’s world — the one Rowling painstakingly imagined — was a refuge. An ode to hope, and joy, and laughter. A world that got kids reading again and reminded all of us that trying to be good isn’t just a futile act — it matters. So it was with great anticipation that I downloaded The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling’s new adult novel, to my iPad and started reading.