A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon – A Book Review

I truly enjoyed Haddon’s novel the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, so I had rather high hopes for his latest release.

While entertaining, A Spot of Bother cannot compare to the originality of Haddon’s previous work.  With a curious incident of the dog in the night-time, Haddon gave me something I’d never seen before with his brilliantly rendered protagonist.  A Spot of Bother, on the other hand, is essentially about a dysfunctional family’s attempts at dealing with a potential wedding. 

While Haddon’s characters are completely flawed, they never become complex, and for me that proved disappointing.  What I mean is, sure, the father is completely neurotic and perhaps even insane, but only in the stereotypical way we would imagine.  From there we’ve got the proper mother who struggles with her illicit acts, a gay son who can’t commit, and a divorced daughter who is raising a child of her own while trying to maintain a relationship with a man she may or may not marry.  Their plights are complex, but they are not.

I don’t want you to misunderstand-this book is totally readable.  It never failed to capture my interest, it moved along quite rapidly, and, at moments, it was utterly hilarious.  But, while my praise above is true, it never broke new ground.  It would probably make a perfect mainstream movie, and that’s my biggest issue with it.

In summation, if you’d like to read about all the events that can go wrong leading up to, during, and after a wedding that may or may not ever actually take place, this is the book for you.  If you’d like to read groundbreaking work with one of the most original characters I’ve ever come across, read Haddon’s other novel entitled the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.

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