THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW!!
The book starts with a death and ends with…well, let’s wait for the spoilers until later, shall we? The man who dies, Barry Fairbrother, is a member of the local parish council so now that seat will need to be filled. There is some controversy involved since Barry had been the major advocate of what to do with a housing development on the outskirts of town. He wanted to keep The Field part of Pagford Parish, others wished to cut it off and let it be taken in by the neighboring town of Yarvil. There are three contenders for the spot, and the Parish Council message board is hacked so that The Ghost of Barry Fairbrother makes some very accusatory posts about council members/applicants. This creates even more chaos. Meanwhile various people in town are dealing with the Barry’s death and the aftermath in their own way.
There are a whole slew of characters in this book, so it took a little while to get into it, but by the second time I met each character I was definitely into it. By the third or fourth time I met some characters, I found I liked them a lot better or worse than I originally had. This highlights Rowling’s theme that people are often not what they appear at the outset.
Keep in mind that this is not story with a happily ever after ending. For some characters, it ends very badly in fact. I couldn’t help but be reminded how many lives were lost at the final battle at Hogwarts and how some of those deaths felt unnecessary to me. The same happens here, but to a lesser extent. For other characters, there is redemption and hope for a better future.
I was about at the halfway point when I picked the book up on Sunday afternoon. I finished it around 3:30 AM on Monday. I looked at the clock at around 2 AM, looked back at how much I had left to read, decided I didn’t care and plowed through to the end. My point is that the book had me so rapt that I ignored common sense in order to finish it, and in my estimation, that is a sign of a very good book indeed.
Review by Jessica A.