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A Spot of Bother Paperback – August 14, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
And, let's face it, George may be the one going clinically insane here, but he is surrounded by a family that could certainly try any man's nerves: a wife cheating on him with a former co-worker, an argumentative daughter marrying a man she's not sure she loves and a gay son who has trouble sustaining relationships. Haddon's success in this novel is that he manages all this madness in a way that seems very real.
To be honest, he handles it in such a realistic way that the first third of the novel is a bit of a slog. Interesting in the sense that you are getting to know these characters but trying in the sense that you are waiting for something more to happen. Then, around page 100, events start to accelerate and they don't let up until the final explosion and the wedding reception at the end of the novel (foreshadowed nicely, I might add, by real fireworks--the kind that explode in colors in the sky).
Far be it from me to give away any of the actual events. Needless to say, he pushes the boundaries of believability but doesn't quite break them. If there is a problem here, it's that everyone else except the four adults in this family seem so normal while they struggle with each other's craziness. But, then again, maybe that's how the world seems when we compare our families to the world at large. Which may be why this novel is fun to read.
"A Spot of Bother" is a hilarious look at the life of a dysfunctional British family. There's George, a recent retiree who is convinced that his eczema is actually cancer and slowly starts losing his mind. George's wife, Jean, is secretly having an affair with her husband's former colleague, David. Jamie, George and Jean's son, doesn't think his parents have accepted the fact that he's gay, and he's also having major problems with his boyfriend, Tony. Katie, George and Jean's daughter, has a young child from her disastrous first marriage and is about to marry Ray, a man that no one in her family can stand.
I really enjoyed this book. It's a comical farce with plenty of laughs, but it's also a touching family tale that all readers will probably be able to relate to on some level (which is a scary thought). I can't wait to see what Haddon writes next.
"If he were given the choice he would rather someone had broken his leg. You did not have to explain what was wrong with a broken leg. Nor were you expected to mend it by force of will.
What he felt mostly was a relentless, grinding dread which rumbled and thundered and made the world dark, like those spaceships in science-fiction films whose battle-scorched fuselages slid onto the screen and kept on sliding onto the screen because they were, in fact, several thousand times larger than you expected when all you could see was the nose cone.
The idea of genuinely having cancer was beginning to seem almost a relief, the idea of going into hospital, having tubes put into his arm, being told what to do by doctors and nurses, no longer having to grapple with the problem of getting through the next five minutes."
Mark Haddon's follow up novel to the curious incident of the dog in the night-time is another sort of exploration into the darker, more obscure regions of the human mind. Instead of an adolescent main character with Asperger's Syndrome, in A Spot of Bother Haddon portrays a 61-year old who begins to think he's losing his mind shortly after finding a mysterious skin lesion on his hip.
George Hall is convinced he has cancer, and that there's nothing that can be done for him. He's plunged into a dark, confusing sort of despair in which the world seems to wobble on its axis, throwing life as he knew it into an alternate nightmarish dimension. Fear overtakes him, often crippling him, and he begins having panic attacks he believes are a further proof of the cancer he's convinced himself is ravaging him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It wasn't really bad, just not so much of what I expected. The author has done lots better.Published 2 months ago by S. Smith
fascinating characters....quite British.....a story of acceptancePublished 9 months ago by P Martin
Having read and seen the theatre production of "The Curious Incident of the Dog at the Midnight" which I thought was fantastic I was really looking forward to reading... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
I found this totally unreadable. The writing was annoying in an Aren't I Clever way, and the characters reminded me of Hyacinth Bucket and company without the humor.Published 10 months ago by Alan Sommerman
This is a really good, absorbing drama about a family in crisis and in particular tells the story of George who, at the age of 57, suddenly faces the fact that he is not going to... Read morePublished 10 months ago by ElaineG
It's better than average but it loses steam well before half way through the book and then comes to a disappointingly pat ending. Read morePublished 11 months ago by M. Saunders
Be ready to laugh - a lot - as you meet this interesting family. Mom is having an affair, Dad is having a mental breakdown, Sis is getting married (but should she? Read morePublished 11 months ago by K. Franke Hill