Originally Posted by Piccadilly
I've recently finished The Casual Vacancy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think that it depends on the culture that you've been exposed to the most throughout your life as to what you're going to take away from it: for me, the culture shown in The Casual Vacancy was an extremely realistic one. I think that as a first attempt at writing adult/general fiction, Rowling has done a bang-up job. I'll certainly be buying her next book, and I'll be happy to pay $25 again.
Those are my exact feelings. What I liked about it was its realism, even though the characters weren't exactly likable. I have to admit though that I liked the Weedon children, both of them. Maybe I am just weird, but I have a tendency to go for the outsiders.
I also agree that it depends on the culture that you've been exposed to. The way Rowling dissected life in a small rural town in England was spot on. You don't have to like it, but if you don't, it doesn't mean it's a bad book. Tastes differ widely and I think it was well written. But that's just my humble opinion, of course.