Kat's Reviews > A Spot of Bother

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon
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's review
Nov 28, 07

bookshelves: fiction-popular
Read in November, 2007

A friend who I usually have similar opinions to on reading material would not have given this book four stars. She thought it boring and only because she was on a flight to Sri Lanka did she continue to struggle through it. She complained that nothing happened.

I am forced to agree with her on that last part. However, just because nothing happened didn't mean I wasn't thoroughly engrossed. The four main characters are well-painted and very accessible - George, a man recently retired who may be starting to lose his mind; his wife, Jean, who had started an affair with an old colleague of George's and is finding conducting it a little more complicated now George is home all day; Jamie, their son, who isn't sure what to do when faced with commitment to his boyfriend, Tony; and Katie, their daughter, who can't decide whether she's marrying Ray because she actually loves him or loves how good a father he is to her son, Jacob.

Personally, I think the male characters (both primary and secondary) are more sympathetic than the female, possibly because of the author being male himself but all of their dilemmas and predicaments feel genuine and understandable and I really wanted life to work out for them all.

While it could tend towards the schmaltzy side, this was usually offset with humour (often gently slapstick) and fell short of becoming too soppy. I think the only thing I was truly disappointed with was the indulgence in including a pair of stereotypical judgmental, born-again Christians, used to highlight Jamie's 'shocking' behaviour with his boyfriend. It seemed, amongst a cast of beautifully depicted characters, a lazy and glaring caricature.

Overall though, a thoroughly enjoyable novel.

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