After a few weeks of getting through books relatively slowly, I am back in the game with this quick read, A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. This book reminded me a bit of The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year (see review for this one here) in that it appears to be a chronological telling of someone’s mental break down in a ‘comedic way’. Hmm.
Okay first things first. I LOVED Mark Haddon’s other book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I loved that book so much that I did a presentation on it for my English GCSE. I thought A Spot of Bother might at least be reminiscent of the same style or demonstrate the same level of skill. It turned out that this novel was okay. It was easy enough to read and I felt like it was a fairly good portrayal of a typical English family. The story begins with George, a recently retired man who finds a lesion on his hip and thinks he has cancer. This sort of starts his mental break down, even though the doctor assures him it’s only eczema. We learn that George’s daughter Katie is getting married so there’s lots of story revolving around their wedding, and we also learn that George’s wife, Jean is having an affair. That bit kind of gets brushed under the carpet though.
Although this book was a real page-turner, it didn’t really satisfy my questions with a few too many loose ends left at the end of the book. I think this sort of topic for a book, an internal struggle, is a really interesting one, and could be portrayed in a really eye-opening and pensive way. However, trying to make this sort of thing funny wasn’t really appropriate though, seeing as George ending up in hospital at one point for trying to cut the lesion off with scissors. I personally don’t really think that’s a subject for comedy, but maybe that’s Haddon’s style of dark humour.
I do still love Haddon’s writing style though. It’s interesting how an author’s writing alone can keep you reading even if the story/characters aren’t gripping you, and vice versa, how if a story is enticing then bad writing can be temporarily overlooked. I’m keen to get onto reading the next one in my 52 Books project, Love in the Time of Cholera.