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A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

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A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

 

The 'Blurb'

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 unpredictable 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 work 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.

 

I loved this book! It made me laugh out loud, which isn't something that happens often with me and books!

 

The story is broken down into small chapters, each about one of the four family members. George's chapters are probably the funniest, even though it seems so wrong to be laughing at someone having a breakdown.

 

I'm a bit squeamish, so one of the chapters had me having to stop and compose myself before I read on, but it was so well written - in fact, it was compulsive reading and the fact that the chapters are so short (some being just ⅔ of a page long!) means that I kept thinking 'oh, I'll just read to the end of the next chapter' and before I knew it, I'd read another 50 pages!

 

I noticed a few things, which made me wonder whether this book was started some time ago but then shelved. One which sticks in my mind was Jamie's irritation towards a work colleague who "took the foil off a Penguin, folded it in half, then rewrapped the bottom of the bar in the now double-thickness foil" - because Penguin biscuits don't come in foil and haven't for many years! Not that this matters in the slightest - I just wondered whether this was maybe a resurrected project after the success of his last book!

 

I loved The Curious Incident... - this is totally different to that but I found it equally enjoyable, if not more so!

 

The paperback is 503 pages long and is published by Vintage. The ISBN number is 978-0099506928.

 

8½/10

 

(Read June 2007)

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Nice review. Don't think you need to worry about your AS result if this is anything to go by! Great eye for detail - the penguin wrappers - and I know what you mean about short chapters. They do keep you reading and I try to use them in my writing.

 

David

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I have this book out from the library at the moment, and will start it after I finish Monday Mourning (Kathy Reichs). Your review has made me look forward to it even more; I was a big fan of The Curious Incident... so when I saw this one in the library I grabbed it straight away. The premise sounds very interesting too - the sentence on the back "George Hall doesn't understand the modern obsession with talking about everything." - really grabbed me, as I tend to feel a bit similar. :) I'll post back here once I have read it.

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Hello!

 

I am halfway through 'A Spot of Bother' and I am really enjoying it, there are some laugh out moments, its been a really great read so far. :)

 

Great review Bagpuss:D

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Oh is this good news or not - another book to add to my TBR pile - it's getting mountainous and overwhelming. I notice it's 500 pages long so it can be a contender for a chunky challenge - that will push it up the TBR list a bit.

 

It sounds brilliant - look forward to reading it.

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Oh is this good news or not - another book to add to my TBR pile - it's getting mountainous and overwhelming. I notice it's 500 pages long so it can be a contender for a chunky challenge - that will push it up the TBR list a bit.

Although it's 500 pages, it doesn't feel like a big read, because of the way the chapters are about a different character - you just keep reading a bit more to find out what happens next when, hey presto - you've finished!

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Sounds like the perfect chunky challenge! :)

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I am almost finished x

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I'm definitely going to add this to my to read pile!

 

Funnily enough this book review has also caused a rather unexpected nice thing to happen to me today. I was talking about this book as one of the books I'd seen reviewed on here that had taken my fancy whilst I was on the phone to my Mum tonight. Turns out she has read the book too and said it was quite good! It's made me realise how little I talk about books with my Mum despite the fact she does read and it would probably be nice if we did swap book titles! So thank you for the lovely unexpected side effect of this review :) I'll be sure to ask her whats she is reading in future!

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Funnily enough this book review has also caused a rather unexpected nice thing to happen to me today. I was talking about this book as one of the books I'd seen reviewed on here that had taken my fancy whilst I was on the phone to my Mum tonight. Turns out she has read the book too and said it was quite good! It's made me realise how little I talk about books with my Mum despite the fact she does read and it would probably be nice if we did swap book titles! So thank you for the lovely unexpected side effect of this review :) I'll be sure to ask her whats she is reading in future!

Aww that's great! :sign0072:

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That is great maclsj :) what a lovely thing to happen.

 

I finished 'A Spot of Bother' in the early hours of this morning, and it was great, I loved the whole story, a big read but you would not know it x

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I just finished this book; what a gem it was! :(

 

Loved the short chapters, and the detailed little stories about each characters lives. As I kept reading it, I was just dying for the moment when

George confronts Jean about her affair!

Took a while to get to it, but it was well worth the wait. :lol:

 

I really dig Mark Haddon's writing style; little sentences that can hold so much weight, and speak volumes.

 

Bagpuss, I know what you mean about that chapter that made you feel a wee bit queasy. I had to read through it really quickly. :thud:

 

There were so many characters in this book, all flawed, and who had done some very silly things, yet all very lovable in their own way -

even Jean! :roll:

Everyone was just so....human and inperfect! It was great. :D

 

I'd recommend this one to anyone who loves a funny, deep, and well-told story. I eagerly await Mark Haddon's future novels. :D

 

Right....onto An Instance of the Fingerpost now!

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Now I'm really looking forward to reading this - chunky challenge for July.

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What a good review:D Now I know I want to read this one -- loved Curious Incident, too.

 

Thank you!

I hope you enjoy it. :)

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I thought this was OK. It was quite funny in places, however after The Curious Incident I thought it was somewhat bland & unoriginal. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it well enough, but it wasn't in the same league as his previous book.

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Me again! There were some genuine funny parts in the book, despite the subject, t

he part where George is found hiding under a bush by friends of the family, I had a bit of a chuckle to that.

x

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A spot of bother is the first book I have read of Mark Haddon's and I really enjoyed it, is it worth me purchasing the Curious Incident?

Hello - welcome to the BCF.co.uk. :smile2:

 

Curious Incident is very different to this book. It's classed as a 'young adults' book, I believe and tells the story from the perspective of Christopher - a teenage lad with Asperger's syndrome (a type of autism).

 

I thought it was a great book, and it certainly got rave reviews. It's just very different, and not very comparable to TCIOTDITN!

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Hello - welcome to the BCF.co.uk. :smile2:

 

Curious Incident is very different to this book. It's classed as a 'young adults' book, I believe and tells the story from the perspective of Christopher - a teenage lad with Asperger's syndrome (a type of autism).

 

I thought it was a great book, and it certainly got rave reviews. It's just very different, and not very comparable to TCIOTDITN!

 

Thank you for the welcome, only joined this evening so still trying to find my way around the site.

 

OK I don't want to feel stupid, but what is TCIOTDITN?

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I picked up "A Spot of Bother" on holiday - the hotel where I was staying had a "library" of books presumably left behind by guests.

 

It wasn't a book I'd have read otherwise, but I'm glad I did, and I think I know the "queasy" bit people refer to - it got me like that too! I'd recommend it very strongly.

 

I'm not tempted to read "The Curious Incident ..." as a result, though. That's a book that's never appealed to me, and I don't think my view's changed. It looks a bit "young" (that sounds terribly snobbish, I know, but I hope people understand what I mean!)

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