Posts Tagged ‘A Spot of Bother’

So here is the start of my catching up phase… It’s a while since I read this one though, so it might be a bit vague!

Book 25 – A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon. This is the story of retired George and his self-absorbed family, who fail to recognise that George is in the process of having a breakdown.

Firstly, I remember that the characters are pretty unappealing for the most part, but there is a story behind how they came to be who they are – it’s not (as in some books) people who are just unpleasant. You can feel for them even when you don’t think they are behaving well.

Secondly, there are sections in this book which were horrible. It’s not a gore-fest but there is a section on self-harm that made me feel really unpleasant as I read it – I am cringing now even remembering it!  It’s so unpleasant to me, in fact, that it made me stop reading the book for a few days.

Thirdly, the book cover says it is funny and warm-hearted. I felt neither particularly amused or warmed by it; it primarily consisted of a man at various stages of a mental health condition where he imagined he had a terminal illness which was quite a tough read, really.  That’s not to say it didn’t have moment that raised a smile, or anything like that – but it wasn’t a laugh out loud book and the amusing elements were pretty low key.

Finally, I bought this because I enjoyed ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ and wanted to read more by the same author. I can see stylistic similarities between the two books, and Haddon does have a readability factor that not all authors achieve, but this was much more difficult to read. It probably comes down to a taste issue as much as anything, but as a diary of paranoia and hyper anxiety it was never going to be light reading.  Seeing people refer to it as a holiday book is fascinating because I’d never recommend this book for a holiday read, it’s far too uncomfortable.

So it’s a book which had strengths and clearly had strong scenes if they are still with me…  But it wasn’t really my cup of tea, and I didn’t find it a particularly enjoyable read.

Hey ho, we can’t all be the same!

Happy reading,




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