A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

Vintage (paperback), 2006

503 pages



This is a library book borrowed from The Mitchell Library (http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries/the-mitchell-library/Pages/home.aspx).


At fifty-seven, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels, listening to a bit of light jazz. Then Katie, his tempestuous daughter, announces that she is getting remarried, to Ray. Her family is not pleased – as her brother Jamie observes, Ray has ‘strangler’s hands’. Katie can’t decide if she loves Ray, or loves the way he cares for her son Jacob, and her mother Jean is a bit put out by the way the wedding planning gets in the way of her affair with one of her husband’s former colleagues. And the tidy and pleasant life Jamie has created crumbles when he fails to invite his lover, Tony, to the dreaded nuptials.

Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind. 


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


I thought A Spot of Bother was great, really great. A Spot of Bother is one of those his novels that makes you laugh and cry in equal measures. There were some really funny moments in A Pot of Bother especially surrounding Katie and Ray’s wedding, Jean’s affair and some of the things George does when his mind starts to unravel. Even the funniest moment were tingled with sadness. Haddon made me love George and feel pity for him. I was very touched by what was happening to him. I just wanted to give him a big huge and tell him everything was going to be okay. A Spot of Bother is the perfect novel about the realities of life. George and Jean’s family were pretty dysfunctional and screwed up. Haddon offers brilliant insight into the mess people’s lives can become when planning a big family event like a wedding. I think George’s breakdown with a great way to explore what can happen to people when they start to get old. I love the way Haddon explores relationships especially dysfunctional family ones in A Spot of Bother. I had a good time reading this novel. The chapters are very short which gives the whole novel quite a fast pace and I felt I raced through it at certain points. A Spot of Bother has a happy ending without being too over-the-top.





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