We're reading The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. This is our 9th installment of the book club. Join our discussion in the comments!
Harry Potter taught children how to be confident and compassionate through radical, scary life changes. The Casual Vacancy—I am now convinced as we approach the final hundred pages— teaches parents not to be negligent bugger-brains and actually do some freakin' parenting once in a bloody fortnight.
Think about this sad town, these sad people. No child in Pagford has a strong role model, except those touched (in the emotional way, not the oops-Cubby-Wall-is-about-to-get-sacked-for-possibly-abusing-students sort of way) by the late Barry Fairbrother. He's the good upstanding husband/father figure to whom everyone in town is constantly comparing themselves: in the first half of Part Four alone Parminder Jawanda, Colin Wall, and Gavin Hughes all meditate on their inadequacies in the shadow of Barry's general power to not ruin every life he enters. It's good that they realize how crap they are at parenting, I guess. But while they're thinking about this stuff, what are their children actually doing? Oh. They're just covertly throwing their parents' most guarded secrets and fears on blast for the world wide web to devour.
Kids these days!
This whole Ghost_of_Barry_Fairbrother trolling war that the children of Pagford are secretly waging on their parents is weirdly satisfying, isn't it? Simon Price, Parminder Jawanda, and now Colin Wall have all seen their reputations slashed and slandered by their own offspring (makers of their own demise, what what) and yet they are all so absorbed in mugglecrap politics that THEY DON'T EVEN REALIZE THEIR KIDS HATE THEM.
Adults these days!
Oh, but then things get sad again, because—as sweet as cruel retribution may smell at first—it does nothing to air out the dire social and domestic fart-fog suffocating Pagford. In fact, the only thing Fats and Andrew's inflammatory blog posts have done is get them each slugged in the face (weirdly symmetrical, huh?) and basically guarantee that Miles Mollison will get his coveted Council seat, which basically guarantees The Fields are screwed forever. Maybe you just can't have good parents and good governors.
Everyone these days!
Is politics just people arguing b/c they hate their kids/parents?
Would you vote for sleazy Miles Mollison over OCD touch-happy Cubby or rage-face Simon?
What do YOU think the moral of CasVac will be?
120 pages left in Pagford, y'all. Let's knock out 60 tonight and finish this bad boy on Friday. Peace out, lit snouts.