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The Casual Vacancy Book Club Part 4: Rage Comics

The Casual Vacancy Book Club Part 4: Rage Comics

By Brandon Specktor

"Wednesday" ended with the most uncomfortable scene so far: future Parish Council candidate Simon Price forcing his children to assemble a stolen computer while he stands around and calls them names and marinates in his own rage sauce.

For me this scene, and the air of impending violence that hung around it, was even harder to read than the description of Terri Weedon's grody meth den in the last chapter. At least we were introduced to Terri's world as part of social worker Kay's attempt to improve it—and as we see earlier in this chapter, Krystal has spruced up the place a bit and helped Robbie trade in his soggy baggy huggies for some real people pants. At least there's some small progress being made in the Weedon household; I'm worried that the only thing the scenes in the Price household are progressing toward is some really nasty domestic violence. I'm sure he'll make a fine politician… -_-

Simon is probably me least favorite character right now because J.K. hasn't shows us anything redeeming about him. I agree with Pistaciosaregreat that the whole Mollison family kind of sucks, but at least they look out for one another (even if it is to the detriment of the whole community). Simon Price, on the other hand, is almost cartoonishly douchey—I mean, the way he abandons his coworker after buying the boosted compy in The Fields, or how he lies to his family about a security guard getting beaten up FOR NO REASON, or how his calls his youngest son "Pauline" after the kid helps him load batteries into his wireless mouse...I don't get this guy, and I don't get how his family has dealt with him for so long. But maybe that's the point.

Rowling grew up in a very strained relationship with her father, and mentions in this New Yorker interview that Andrew Price is a partial reflection of her own teenage experience and mindset. When you're a child dealing with an abusive or negligent parent, the whole world can seem illogical (is that why she took refuge in fantasy??). We may never learn what motivates Simon Price, but I betcha we will see Andrew stand up to the dingus before too long, because his seething rage-douchery is cutting into Arf's lust-over-Gaia's-Facebook time, and that is the last freakin' straw. Everyone's gotta have escapes from their family, and if Simon Price lands a spot in local government then the whole dang Parish will be trapped in his web of bullcrap.

On a cheerier note, my favorite part of this chapter is when Krystal raps Jay-Z. Girl's got 99 problems, and a golden snitch ain't one.

Which household irks you more—Simon Price's, or Terri Weedon's? Who do you want to take over the vacant Council seat? Do you think J.K. should just stick to writing about teenagers, forever, or do you dig any of the grown-up characters too?

Let's finish Part 1 tonight (up to page 179 in the hardcover), then batten down the hatches for what is sure to be remembered for generations as The Great Election of Self-Entitled Butt-Clowns.

Topics: Books, Life
Tags: books, reading, book club, jk rowling, the casual vacancy, the casual vacancy book club

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About the Author
Brandon Specktor

Brandon is a writer and humor editor at Reader's Digest magazine. He was born in Tucson, Arizona, and wants to write a paranormal Western that begins, "First the cows turned up dead." What should the rest be about? Tell him on twitter @beardspeck.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.

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