2008: 11. A Spot of Bother


“It began when George was trying on a black suit in Allders the week before Bob Green’s funeral.”

A Spot of Bother, Mark Haddon

This is Haddon’s follow up to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and while it isn’t as much of a tour de force as that novel* it is still a pretty good read.   It tells the story of a family that starts to crumble, a bit, and in the end is better for it - not the most original of tales, but the characters are so appealing that the book works, even if we’ve seen this story before.  The characters are George, who has begun to have a nervous breakdown about his own mortality, his wife, who is having an affair and is happier than she’s ever been, his daughter, about to be remarried to a man no one in her family likes and his son, who is gay, sort of in the closet and just been dumped because he won’t emotionally connect to his lover.  Over the course of the novel all these problems interact and eventually come to a head, and it all ends up better than it was before.  And, you know, when you put it that way - i.e. “being honest about our issues and problems will probably make us happier” it seems sort of banal, but the characters are real enough that you see why these people had been so closed off, and their opening seems well earned.  A good story for fans of good old fashioned novels about real people and their problems, told in a light and engaging way.

* I was pretty impressed by his ability to capture the voice of a high functioning autistic teen, and this book offers nothing as fancy.

Date/Place Completed: 1/17/08; Flying to D.C.

Categories: Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017