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The Casual Vacancy Book Club Part 5: Kids Rule, Adults Die in Wicker Baskets

The Casual Vacancy Book Club Part 5: Kids Rule, Adults Die in Wicker Baskets

By Brandon Specktor

I've gotta go carve some energy-efficient, bio-degradable apple core coffins for the local funeral parlor, so today's Book Club will be brief. A few notes about "Friday," "Saturday," and the end of Act One (1/3rd of the way through this mamajama, guys!) :

  • We jumped from Wednesday to Friday. What about Thursday? Maybe everyone in Pagfrod was too busy watching Parks and Recreation to feel all bleak and existential for one evening.
  • J.K. can't (or doesn't want to) escape from the lives of teenagers. Just look at "Friday": in this short chapter we get 1.5 pages on Cubby, 1.5 pages on Gavin, 1.5 pages on Parminder, and then six pages on Sukhvinder. From a mathematical standpoint, one teenager in Pagford is four times as interesting as any one adult.
  • Sukhvinder. Oh, Sukhvinder. First of all, this girl needs to learn how to change her privacy settings on FB instead of just blocking Fats Wall's fresh dummy accounts every day. Secondly,  just want to shove my face through the book and yell at this girl, "YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL FLOWER AND LIFE WILL GET BETTER." The scene of her cutting herself alone by flashlight has officially dethroned Simon Price going all Hulk-mad on his family computer as the most uncomfortable scene of the story so far. Hopefully her self-esteem improves (at least she's friends with the hottest girl in school). But so far it seems like the only thing that improves in Pagford is an occasional nappy change.
  • Saturday was a fun chapter because it's the first time we see all the familiar adults of Pagford interacting in one place. But even with the entire Fairbrother, Mollison, Jawanda, and Wall clans cramped in one church together, the forced austerity of the funeral keeps any seriously juicy drama from going down. It was fun watching Gavin freak out about EVERYTHING, though. Seriously, this guy is poutier than Sukhvinder.
  • Samantha Mollison needs to cool her jets, or just have an affair already so we can stop reading about her boobage.
  • Barry Fairbrother in a wicker coffin. What.
  • Playing "Umbrella" at the funeral was a perfectly sweet and awkward cap to the scene. But where is Krystal Weedon?
  • As awesomely uncomfortable as the funeral was, I definitely prefer the final scene with Andrew and Fats chilling by the river and waxing philosophical on sex and death—more proof that J.K. is a bard of the teenage brain.
  • Sex and death, death and sex. And music. Do you have anything to add to Fats and Arf's list of  worldly importance? Money sure seems a strong motivation for several Pagford families.
  • Rebellious_Cellist is currently running unopposed for SparkLife Ambassador to Pagford (which is a very honorable and important office I just made up) on the platform of "turning the fields into an underwater housing research center." Any other takers out there?

Part Two is one long 80-page section. Let's bust through the first half by tomorrow and read up to Chapter VIII (page 229 in the hardback). Happy bio-degrading, wickerfaces.

Topics: Life
Tags: books, 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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