West Linn Reader, March 25, 2007 (view all comments by West Linn Reader)
"The Curious Incident..." is one of the best books I've ever read; this one was a bit of a disappointment, although it was enjoyable. Maybe I was just expecting too much. This one is funny and tragic at the same time; it is not as compelling as "The Curious Incident." Read it--as long as you're not expecting a repeat experience after you have read the first one.
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Bookwomyn, November 4, 2006 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
What a pleasure to read a good book! I read a lot and am so often disappointed in current fiction but this book does not disappoint. Poor George . . . life is so hard for him right now. All of the characters are very real - their struggles so familar they seem like friends of the family with whom one can immediately care about.
Read it - you'll love it.
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A second novel as good as the first. The follow-up to A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is hilarious, dark, and entirely human. A Spot of Bother is the story of the highly dysfunctional Hall family: George, recently retired and going a bit crazy; his wife, Jean, none too attentive to George's troubles; their son, Jamie, who is having trouble deciding how or if he can commit to his boyfriend; and their daughter, Katie, a single mother getting ready to marry a man no one's too keen on. Haddon, to me, is a storyteller along the lines of John Irving or Nick Hornby. The premise and the goings-on can be fairly far-fetched, but I always end up caring for the characters and being drawn into the story.
A Spot of Bother is an adroit and highly accomplished comedy of manners, which while revealing Haddon's sharp, wry sense of humor also displays a superb understanding of the human condition in all of its colorful, crazy permutations. In what seems like effortless prose, Haddon describes a few weeks of a family's life with such astuteness and empathy (so like that which he displayed in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) that I was utterly hypnotized.
"Review A Day"
by Georgie Lewis, Powells.com,
"A Spot of Bother is such a pleasure to read — it is funny, wry, and well-paced — that it is only later that you realize what a thoughtful novel it is. Mark Haddon created a unique voice in Christopher, his autistic fifteen-year-old narrator of The Curious Incident, and the book went on to win the Whitbread Book of the Year. A Spot of Bother is less quirky, less dazzlingly ambitious, yet to my mind it is just as satisfying and emotionally rich." (read the entire Powells.com review)
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"It's a pleasant comic caper, the literary equivalent of a night spent watching a romantic comedy. There's nothing wrong with it, but nothing hugely memorable, either."
by Wall Street Journal,
"The surprise is that after spending a few hundred pages with these not- awfully-lovable characters, you come to regard them with something like affection."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Though Haddon is a clever writer...the results here fall somewhere between the psychological depth of Anne Tyler and the breeziness of Nick Hornby. Takes too long to arrive at its farcical finale and seems too slight in the process."
by Library Journal,
"Haddon perfectly captures his characters' frailties and strengths while injecting humor with pinpoint accuracy. Highly recommended."
"Full of dialogue too clever by half, too perfectly timed to feel sincere. Even the book's one child can occasionally fire back zingers, giving this story the swift-moving, shallow current feel of television — and the same lasting power."
by Los Angeles Times,
"A Spot of Bother snaps, crackles and pops with humor and pathos as Haddon depicts family members driving one another crazy."
One of the most keenly awaited books of the year: the new novel from Mark Haddon. "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" won no fewer than 17 literary prizes, including the Whitbread, and has sold in copious quantities in all its editions. "A Spot Of Bother" begins with George Hall, a retired man in his sixties, finding a mark on his hip, which he is convinced is skin cancer. His increasingly odd behaviour is a worry to his family, but they have their own concerns to deal with. Part family-farce, part clear-eyed presentation of mental illness, part novel of manners, all written in Mark Haddon's unique and affecting style.
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