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A Spot of Bother

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,484 Ratings  ·  2,728 Reviews
George Hall is an unobtrusive man. A little distant, perhaps, a little cautious, not at quite at ease with the emotional demands of fatherhood, or manly bonhomie. He does not understand the modern obsession with talking about everything. “The secret of contentment, George felt, lay in ignoring many things completely.” Some things in life, however, cannot be ignored.

At 61,
Paperback, 354 pages
Published September 15th 2006 by Doubleday Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 22, 2007 Patrick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I pretty much hated this book. It was the type of book that you read because you liked the author's other work, but it's so aggressively bad that it makes you reconsider whether or not you actually liked the author's previous work upon closer consideration.

So what was so bad about it? Well, for the one the characters simply didn't ring true. They all felt poorly sketched out, just a bunch of people having what Haddon would have you believe are constant epiphanies about their sad little lives. He
Jan 29, 2009 jo rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: linda
i don't know why people who've read the curious incident of the dog in the night-time would find this second novel a let-down. it seems to me equally tender, sweet, and heartbreaking. it's also hilariously funny. haddon does heartbreaking and funny with such grace, simplicity, and verbal virtuosity, it's wonderful. i admire this writer greatly.

what i admire most about him is that he shows us the behavior of "crazy" people who do "crazy" things from the inside, and from the inside these crazy th
Jul 06, 2008 Pierce rated it did not like it
As we approach the end of my first year of recorded and reviewed reading, I have read almost no bad books. The Fermata was bad, but the guy could write, he just decided to write something we all thought was fucking awful.

This was a bad book.

Oh how do I hate this book? Let me count the ways:

1) Every word in this novel is written in conversational, lazy prose. "Absolutely" is used repeatedly for emphasis. "Cue" something or other. The kind of verbal junk we are all guilty of in verbal conversation
Jeremy Zerbe
Jun 23, 2008 Jeremy Zerbe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
People going into Mark Haddon's latest novel, A Spot of Bother expecting anything like his smash-hit debut, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time are going to be sorely disappointed. And rightfully so, because if Haddon had reproduced the same sort of story as he did in his first novel, we'd all be complaining about how he was such a one-trick pony. In fact, I'm glad he got the unconvential work that is The Curious Incident out of the way first, so that he can now settle himself into ...more
Modest past review discovered to have been lost in an import from Shelfari:
The survival of a modest man shown charmingly with much deadpan humor. George Hall thinks he has cancer, which shapes how he reacts to more mundane crises, such as an unfaithful wife, a son struggling with gayness, and a daughter about to marry poorly. He seems to gain a sense of sanity from learning first hand how crazy everyone else is. Our lovable hero just keeps having bad luck, but always rises to the surface. The in
Mar 01, 2010 Kaion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Spot of Bother is an alternating-POV story about going quietly mad and loudly sane, and love under all our layers of repression and confusion: There’s newly-retired dad George, politely failing to bury his increasing obsessive thoughts of mortality under a zest for home renovations. Mom Jean, already balancing familial duty and work and volunteering, is just trying to find more time for her passionate affair with a long-time acquaintance. Their outspoken grown-up daughter Katie intends to marr ...more
Oct 17, 2015 Elaine rated it really liked it
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 live forever upon the discovery of a lesion on his hip. Wife Jean is sleeping with an old work colleague of his. Daughter Katie is preparing her wedding to Ray, a man who is universally disliked by her family and to be honest, she is not sure whether she is marrying him for the right reasons. Finally, son Jamie is facin ...more
MJ Nicholls
Aug 23, 2011 MJ Nicholls rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made Curious Incident fans wail and gnash their teeth in 2006. Who knows how Haddon’s reputation fares today, following the lukewarm response to this breezy domestic drama? I get the impression children’s voices are more his forte, what with being a bestselling kids' author and all. In fact, some of the best lines in this book belong to the toddler Jacob and revolve around poo and ice cream. But this is hardly worth a literary excommunication. It is the sort of book only established au ...more
Feb 02, 2016 Elyse rated it it was amazing

I just notice Mark Haddon has a new book coming out (short stories) ---"The Pier Falls"

I entered the 'give-a-way' (a girl can hope) -- :)

I LOVED this book sooooooooooooo much --I had a few copies at one time.... (gave copies away).
For some reason --I like this 'MORE' than a few of my friends --but I was DYING LAUGHING ...(forgive me if I sound nasty) ....during the bedroom scenes....
and then there was the daughter's wedding... (I just LOVED this book --and could read it again)..
Jan 22, 2008 Kirsten rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kirsten by: NPR
A very entertaining and intelligent "page-turner", which is a rare combination of traits. As a story told from four well-written viewpoints, it succeeds in evoking an emotional connection with the characters. But I worry about too much modern fiction presenting the literary equivalent of short serial television episodes all jumbled together in something described as a novel.

I suppose readers' attention spans are becoming shorter, but should fiction really cater to that fact? There is definitely
Aug 24, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
Hilarious!!!! What a wonderful story, that kept me laughing the whole time. Haddon does a wonderful job giving his characters life. It made me wonder what I'll be like when I retire will I be as crazy and eccentric as the main character.
Dec 15, 2007 Lila rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any adult
First the quibbles: Haddon's a young guy. He has a young guy's perspective, which is to say, a limited perspective. His portrayals of the middle-aged are in places laughable. Mark, I've got to tell you: people over fifty don't think the world belongs to the young. They don't think they're obsolete. It's young people who think that about their elders. Youngsters are often (not always) better at the very latest technology, but that's their only advantage. Well, that, and the good health they take ...more
Seth T.
Jan 23, 2008 Seth T. rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub
I'm not really sure what to say about this one. I really can't generate strong feelings one way or another on its behalf. It wasn't bad but it wasn't good - and conversely, it wasn't good but it wasn't bad. It had likable moments and parts that I laughed at. And some of Haddon's descriptions were priceless (e.g., the "chickeny scrotum" bit). But then there was the rest of it. I kept feeling that if it was either good or bad, I would have relished finishing it so that I could relish talking about ...more
Sep 27, 2007 Joe rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Ilse
Having read Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I expected my sophomore foray into Haddon's style of novel-writing to be a bit of a departure. If you don't know already the book was written from the point-of-view of a boy with Asperger's Syndrome (a functional form of Autism) and delivered with a fair amount of empathy that warmed the reader to an otherwise antisocial and charmless character.

However, I felt that even from an omniscient point-of-view, Haddon hardly piqued my personal
Aug 04, 2010 Uci rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's like rain in your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's a good advice that you just didn't take
and who would've figures

Ironic by Alanis Morisette

George Hall menjalani hidupnya tanpa neko-neko. Menikah, punya anak, punya rumah dan pekerjaan yang bagus, pokoknya segala hal yang sepatutnya dimiliki lelaki baik-baik. Namun memasuki masa pensiun, tiba-tiba berbagai masalah menjungkirbalikkan hidupnya yang sempurna. Putrinya Katie akan melangsungkan pernikahan kedu
Dec 16, 2008 Angela rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
Dear Budding Indie Film-maker,

I know how tempted you are to turn this quirky little book into a quirky little movie. You've mentally cast James Cromwell as the family patriarch who's sure the excema on his leg is actually cancer. You know just how the camera will close in on the faces of the actors as they make realizations that will change their life.

And you're really looking forward to filming some of the genuinely sweet and funny scenes, knowing the audience will roar with laughter while wipi
Firstly, I'd like to point out I have NOT read The Curious Incident.. but given the hype surrounding the author I was expecting big things.
To be honest, if this was his first book we probably wouldn't know who Mark Haddon is. I am not sure it would even get published. It doesn't mean it's a completely bad book - it will keep you hooked during that morning tube ride, but it doesn't stand out.
Considering the profoundness of the characters epiphanies you could think the author is ten years old. T
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
After Curios Dog, I was eager to read another book by the same author. I couldn't identify with the characters at all. I found myself wanting to shake some sense into them. I know characters shouldn't be perfect, but come on! I made myself finish it. While it does delve into the thought process of someone with acute anxiety and fear and irrational thought (that was a bit interesting), the rest I just couldn't stand.
Helen (Helena/Nell)
Jul 12, 2010 Helen (Helena/Nell) rated it liked it
First (for me) there was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I still remember how I cried at the end, wept buckets, loved it. Then there was the book of poetry, The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea. Great title. What was inside did little for me. And now, remaindered, hard-back, handsome, A Spot of Bother.

Expectations were lowered after the damp-squib poetry. Perhaps that was good because very quickly this novel started to delight me. It’s all relations
Patrick Tobin
Jan 22, 2009 Patrick Tobin rated it did not like it
I suspect this novel was whipped up to fulfill the second book of the author's deal with the publisher -- and given the phenomenal success of the author's first book, the publisher went ahead with it. "A Spot Of Bother" lacks any of the precision and warmth and surprise of "A Curious..." Chapters read like outlines jotted down in a notebook. Hypochondriac dad: check. Philandering mother: check. Bitch sister: check. Gay brother: check.

The book only comes alive -- briefly, and then slips back int
Jan 12, 2016 Tony rated it liked it
3 stars. 3 Stars always feel to me a little non-committal. Nestling there with two neighbours on each side; two with wings and two on the opposing side armed with a trident.

For me, this was rescued by the rather touching and sensitive account of a character’s descent into madness. I found myself on occasion measuring my own thoughts against those of said character; oh how easy it is to lose one’s grip on the tangible.

That alone, I suppose, rescues this from instant oblivion. Other than that, it
Apr 01, 2007 Leonora rated it liked it
This book was much better than I thought it would be. I found myself drawn into it unlike other novels which lately don't seem to hold my interest.

The writing style is completely different from "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" which was refreshing. He showed ability in this book to write a normal, even typical, story.

What drew me in was the same thing that drew me to Herman Hesse. He uncannily describes emotions that I've felt on almost every page. Hesse does that brilliant
Aug 20, 2007 Brynn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jihan
Shelves: summer2007
"Talking was, in George's opinion, overrated. You could not turn the television on these days without seeing someone discussing their adoption or explaining why they had stabbed their husband. Not that he was averse to talking. Talking was one of life's pleasures. And everyone needed to sound off now and then over a pint of Ruddles about colleagues who did not shower frequently enough, or teenage sons who had returned home drunk in the small hours and thrown up in the dog's basket. But it did no ...more
Jessica Baxter
Oct 23, 2007 Jessica Baxter rated it really liked it
oh i loved this! haddon induces the same empathy for these characters as he did for the boy in curious incident, which is a much harder task considering that these characters are just flawed self-absorbed adults and not children suffering from mental illness. by flawed self-absorbed adults i of course mean me and you. he has a remarkable talent for dialogue and delivery, which is, to me, the trickiest thing to do well. you dont want to put it down, and you dont want it to end, and you so badly w ...more
Jun 03, 2007 Trin rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, english-lit
Okay, here's how this breaks down:

Book about a real-life serial killer
Trin: I think I'll read this my first night in a strange, new apartment, in an unfamiliar neighborhood, when I'm all alone, and almost all the lights are off! La la la!

Book featuring one plot thread about a man's slow descent into madness, including a scene of botched self-surgery
Trin: *hides under the bed* *whimpers*

Yeah. I found this novel very hard to get through—which, if anything, should I suppose be a compliment to Haddo
Lance Greenfield
Feb 13, 2016 Lance Greenfield rated it really liked it
A good holiday read

This is the story of Kate's wedding. That seems straightforward enough, but she has a mother who is having an affair with her father's ex work colleague. Her father believes that he has cancer and cracks up with near disastrous consequences. Her brother is homosexual and worried about inviting his partner to the wedding. Actually, her brother is probably the most sane character in the whole book; or maybe his partner is. With all of these nutters around, the wedding may never
Jun 03, 2009 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Who doesn't love a story about a retired husband and father slowly but surely losing his mind?

Part hypochondriac, Part neuroses, sprinkle in some anxiety and panic attacks, and a vision of something that no man should ever have to witness first hand -- and it's fun for the whole family.

Speaking of family, this ones got LOADS of issues! All the better to make you appreciate what you have.

Cleverly written, it had me turning pages like a maniac. I was dying to find out what was going to happen next
Jan 26, 2009 Lucie rated it it was ok
if you can get past the first 200 pages, this turns out to be a vaguely compelling read. but really, getting through the 1st 200 pages of someone's book, just for the remaining 80 pages isn't my idea of a fun time. if only it was a nice little novella or short story! it ultimately was an ok experience for me, just lacks the charm & focus of haddon's earlier lovely CURIOUS CASE...too bad!
Jennifer (aka EM)
Aug 26, 2008 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it liked it
Shelves: palate-cleansers
Plodded through the first half, but glad to have persisted. I didn't warm to the characters right away and Haddon took a while to develop their voices. Interesting, because characters were stuck in their ruts, and the writing itself seemed weighed down by that. Or perhaps, especially in comparison to The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time with its single character focus, Haddon had so many personalities on his hands that he needed a while to wrestle each of them into form and get them ...more
Jul 14, 2010 Charles rated it liked it
Reviews of this book on GR were rather mixed. But, as my book group had decided that this would be our book this month, I forged ahead, trepidant and unenthused.

I liked Curious Incident... I liked it a lot. It had a charm, a sweetness, an appeal that resonated with many readers. I have recommended it to many, usually with good response.

But, in comparing these books, I have come accross a rather critical observation: they are different books! I appreciate, and agree, with other reviewers who have
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Mark Haddon is a British novelist and poet, best known for his 2003 novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. He was educated at Uppingham School and Merton College, Oxford, where he studied English.

In 2003, Haddon won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and in 2004, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Overall Best First Book for his novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-t
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“And it occurred to him that there were two parts to being a better person. One part was thinking about other people. The other part was not giving a toss what other people thought.” 106 likes
“What they failed to teach you at school was that the whole business of being human just got messier and more complicated as you got older. You could tell the truth, be polite, take everyone's feelings into consideration and still have to deal with other people's shit. At nine or ninety.” 59 likes
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