Archive for May 2014

The Casual Vacancy Review

Everyone knows Harry Potter series. Everyone fall in love with the books. I am not to be excluded. I was once a big fan of Harry Potter as well. But, out of all, I think I fell in love with JK Rowling more than the fictional characters she had created. Maybe because of the way she writes her books. She wrote with precisions, amazing descriptions and details. She brings up the mood of suspense, humor and sadness in a great way. Everything is being emphasized that you can imagine you yourself walking up the aisles and stairs of Hogwarts.

Harry Potter is a hero of my childhood. Very few of my friends actually read Harry Potter. I am like the only one in a hundred. I have no one to talk about Harry Potter yet I was just too immersed into the world of magic that JK Rowling had created. Thanks to JK Rowling for that. It had been a wonderful childhood memory for me.

When I grew up, to the age of 19, I found out that JK Rowling wrote another book after Harry Potter ends. It is entitled, The Casual Vacancy. I was so surprised and directly bought the book without considering what the book is all about by the time I saw it at Big Bad Wolf. It cost me only RM24.90 while actually the real price is RM57.72. I even got a hard cover. Yeay..!

Only then I knew that The Casual Vacancy is an adult book. But yeah, I am 19, not underage or something so I gave this book a try.

For the first 200 pages, it was disappointing.

The author is JK Rowling, the one who gained millions writing the Harry Potter series, now presenting me a rubbish? 

That is what I thought at first. And, I gave up with the book. I can't take it any further. The characters are just too many. I can't see the relationships between any of them. Why the only common thing everyone shared is the recognition towards Barry Fairbrother? Why there is only one character who is being super nice and dead? What is so wrong with everyone in this town? Why are they so full of conflicts that I can't see where it is going?

So I stop reading it. But then, it makes feel guilty. I mean, no matter how frustrating a book could be before this, I still have the urge of finishing it. I finished literally every book that I have started reading except for one (Looking For Alaska) because after two books of John Green, I just couldn't adapt to more of him.

The guilty feeling inside me arouse by time, so I have decided to give The Casual Vacancy a second chance. I bring this big book with me to college everyday so that I can read it before my class start at 10 (I usually arrive at 8). Whenever the class is about to start, I feel no reluctance at all to close the book which is unusual.

But the feeling of disappointment changed when I turn to page 239, where things are becoming clearer when Andrew take a step of humiliating his own father using the name of The_Ghost_of_Barry_Fairbrother. The plot becomes more and more interesting to me after that and I kept on reading it and finished the book only in 3 days.

I am so sorry, but I prefer not to write the summary on my own since I can't figure out how to write one. It is so confusing that I am afraid I can't explain it well.

But yeah, to sum up everything, to me, this book is basically about a small town in England and the people who lived in there. From the smallest thing you wish you would never know about them to the biggest secret that some of them kept. In this book, you can see how small things have the possibility of causing a big damage which is fully shown in the ending.

Patches of characters are at last become complete and by the end of the book, you will be able to see the big picture of what JK Rowling wants us to see. The real world of hatred, dirts, pain and suffering is revealed in the last chapter.

Andrew and Gaia

Favorite Characters
I have a few characters that I like. But, there is no way you are going to 'love' any of them. They are completely normal human with flaws. There is not even a character that has the level of perfection like the other fictional characters you have known for life.

In this book, you will realize that how imperfect, we are as a community. This book will not give you a fake hope of finding a real person that has everything.

He could be nice, but in the end, he is the one who makes his father losses the job.
He could be cool, but in the end, he is the one who caused the death of a small kid.
She could be pretty, but, she has to lose everything that she once has.
She could be nice, but she is so depressed that all she could think about is dying.
He might be smart, but, he is the one with a mental disease.
He could be rich and good-looking, but he had fancied his own best friend's wife.

Can you see how imperfect they are?

The only nice character that have been mentioned throughout the story is Barry Fairbrother, but unfortunately, he had died in the first few pages.

There you go! A characters tree. 

I seriously recommend this book to all those people who barely understand what reality means. This book will show them how harsh the world is, how dirty it has been for all of us and there is no one to be blame but ourselves.

Magic is just an escapism. No such thing like Harry Potter exist. No way that the world is created for just that one person to save all of us. This book tells us that each and every of us responsible for the damage of our own community.

I guess, everyone (above 17) should read this book. Every and each of us must have been at least, in one of the characters' shoe. And this book will teach us some lessons that we have forgotten.

"This is a book about responsibility. In the minor sense—how responsible we are for our own personal happiness, and where we find ourselves in life—but in the macro sense also, of course: how responsible we are for the poor, the disadvantaged, other people’s misery." J.K. Rowling.

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Di Mana Tuhan Dalam Dakwah dan Tarbiyah?

Bila kita bergerak dalam dakwah, orang akan menyangka bahawa kita ni memang dekat dengan Allah. Orang akan sangka yang kita takkan pernah buat dosa. Kerana apa?

Kerana kitalah manusia yang tak pernah ketinggalan usrah mahupun daurah. Tapi, sebenarnya...?

Aku yakin, hanya Tuhan yang tahu.

 Minggu lepas, aku kuatkan diri aku menghadiri daurah di Serdang. Otak menuntut aku supaya jangan pergi tapi jiwaku jelas mengatakan aku harus pergi. Kerana kebiasaannya, aku akan terasa berat sebelum pergi usrah atau daurah, tapi apabila sudah berada di sana, aku berharap sekali masa akan terhenti dan aku terus kekal di sana, bersama-sama manusia yang turut ingin memulihkan dunia dari segala penyakit.

Dan pagi itu, aku kuatkan diri juga, menjemput sahabatku dari kolej kediaman dan bergerak ke Serdang menggunakan KTM.

 Sesi yang lain terasa biasa bagiku. Tidak begitu menakutkan atau lebih mudah lagi, aku dapat merasakan aku menyerap segala maklumat sebagai teori. Seolah-olah aku ini seorang observer yang mahukan hypothesis yang valid semata-mata.

Sampailah ke satu sesi yang menceritakan perihal tarbiyyah diri sendiri. Si pemberi menyatakan bahawa sebagai daie, setiap kami haruslah menjaga mutabaah amal masing-masing. Maka ada seorang senior mengangkat tangan bertanya,

"Bagaimana kalau mutabaah amal penuh tapi tidak mentarbiyyah jiwa?" 

 Aku terkesima. Terdiam mendengar persoalan itu.

Amal yang tidak mentarbiyyah : Melakukan segala-galanya yang terletak di bawah nama Islam namun jiwa tidak terasa kuat dengan adanya pertolongan Tuhan.

 Lebih kurang seperti, aku buat 'dakwah' tapi bukan untuk Allah. Ia lebih kepada aku rasa aku bertanggungjawab semata-mata. Seperti mana aku rasa terhadap study. Study hanya tanggungjawab semata-mata yang perlu aku laksanakan. Tapi, aku tidak gembira melakukannya.

Aku sepatutnya rasa gembira melakukan apa sahaja kerana aku yakin Tuhan ada bersamaku. Tapi tidak. Aku tidak merasa kebahagiaan itu.

 Dan aku begitu yakin sekali apa jawapannya kepada permasalahanku ini. "Kerana tiada Tuhan dalam jiwaku." Aku begitu sibuk berbicara tentang gerak kerja sampaikan aku terlupa hakikatnya, kerja yang aku lakukan ini adalah khas untuk Allah dan bukannya semata-mata untuk manusia. Bukan untuk sahabat-sahabat yang aku cintai dan bukan sahaja kerana keamanan yang tak mampu aku tinggalkan ketika berada dalam usrah mahupun daurah.

 Sekarang, sebelum aku proceed, aku rasa, perkara pertama yang aku harus cari di dalam medan ini adalah Dia, Tuhan yang Satu. Manusia yang menemui Tuhannya takkan pernah rasa depressed kan?

 Moga aku temui Dia.

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