The Casual Vacancy – #4

My fourth post about JK Rowling’s new book The Casual Vacancy, and we are onto the second day after Barry’s death, Tuesday.



  • Finally get to see how Mary Fairborther is dealing with Barry’s death, instead of everyone else in the community.
  • Declan came into the bed crying last night, and this morning, it was Mary’s turn to cry some more
  • Every moment was full of grief for Mary, facing a life without her true love
  • A tad awkward, a phone call for your dead husband, having to explain that would be the worst
  • The call is from the newspaper wanting to find out about Krystal so they can interview her for their article on the Fields
  • Hearing about Krystal and the Fields, sends Mary into a rage


  • Got confused for a moment about Gaia and Krystal
  • Gaia’s mother, and Gavin’s ‘lover’, Kay, is a social worker, and many of her cases are of people living in the Fields
  • One of the other social workers had to be reassigned, due to stress from the job
  • Oh, Kay is visiting the Weedon’s home, Krystal’s home
  • Sad to see a home so littered
  • Being a social worker would be such a hard job, having to face such difficult situations, but at least you get to leave them at the end of the day, those people don’t
  • Nobody answers so Kay keepings knocking, until we get to see Terri Weedon, Krystal’s mother
  • Didn’t really expect to see drugs in JK Rowling’s book, but now it’s not surprising
  • At Kay looks like she still is trying to care for her families
  • I really feel sorry for Krystal, Terri seems to blame her for not taking Robbie to the nursery, in fact, Terri thinks she is a year and a half younger than she really is
  • Robbie doesn’t even know to wipe himself (though, he can go to the toilet himself, which is impressive) and it goes to show that it is not the child’s fault in the slightest, and even the parents, they probably grew up in the same position, and know no different
  • Terri’s grandmother has been helping her, but she isn’t well, is this the grandmother that Krystal has been living with for a while when she was taken away from Terri?
  • At least Robbie looks slightly healthy, but living like that, having to be so independent, you can see why as they grow up, they don’t (I feel terrible for saying ‘they’, like these people are different from me) trust other people, and reject help
  • Two of Terri’s children have died, and being on heroine and not feeling things, would surely be connected to trying to forget the pain, and rehab isn’t working
  • I feel very conflicted trying to comment on this, I haven’t had to grow up in a situation like that, so I have no idea what it is like, and commenting feels a bit ‘preachy’ and very naive, so I apologise for my thoughts


  • Stuart, aka Fats, is experimenting with truancy, because he is not in the same class as Andrew (well he chose this particular lesson, because of that)
  • Wearing a school uniform is surely the one thing that highlights the fact you are ‘wagging’
  • But his ideas about being yourself, not matter what that person is, and being honest, are interesting
  • Andrew sounds like he is a good influence on Fats, but Fats doesn’t want to be held back in what he wants to do
  • Interesting that he has spent time figuring out what he wants to do, and what he wants to do, only because he has been ‘conditioned’ to want to do it
  • I guess this is Fats’ for of rebellion against his parents and against ‘The Man’ by trying to de-construct their conditionings and do the complete opposite, because the opposite is ‘right’
  • Dane Tully sounds rough
  • Punching and violence is never okay
  • Knives are even worse, and can and do kill, same as punches
  • Teenage sex, didn’t really expect that from JK


  • Why is nobody answering the phone? Is it to show everyone is so busy, i.e government departments are so busy, they can’t help?
  • Sad to see such a cycle of poverty, drugs, violence, really hard to break
  • Compared to those stories, Robbie is doing swimmingly
  • Is Howard going to try and close the rehab clinic? Terrible idea
  • Can’t Kay see Gavin doesn’t want her? I guess love is blind
  • Quite sad she has to pretend her relationship is better than it is, Gavin needs to man up


  • Free school buses? Interesting
  • Not good for Fats having parents at the school, they’ll know you didn’t go to lass
  • What sort of things?
  • It seems parents immediately forget what it was like as a child/teenager, as soon as they become a parent
  • I think I might want to yell at the kids too, and a few of the adults
  • I wonder if the strained relationships between many teenagers an their parents is evidence that humans aren’t supposed to live with their parents during those years, and that, like animals, have to fend for themselves. But at the same time, parents can be so important in a child/teenager’s life, and it is sad to see poor relationships

2 thoughts on “The Casual Vacancy – #4

  1. You make good observations, including this: “It seems parents immediately forget what it was like as a child/teenager, as soon as they become a parent”, but I don’t think it really fits here. Fats’s behavior is shown to be atypical of teenagers, and you can’t excuse cutting class so casually and amorally.

    1. Thanks. Yeah Fats behaviour like cutting class is not really acceptable, and sure not all teenagers really do it. But at the time it just looked like he wanted to be rebellious, as all teenagers do. But his actions later on, are very deplorable, and I can see that his behaviour is completely unacceptable, and I don’t really understand his motives behind it, and it is clear that he is, as you say, atypical. Really cutting class isn’t the major issue, his bullying and reprehensible attitude later on are clear issues. I just want to know why he is doing all of this, why he is acting out. Hopefully we’ll get some clarification later on.

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