A Spot of Bother follows the tremendous success of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Thankfully this novel achieves the same effect of breaking your heart all the while making you laugh. Haddon’s insights on human behavior are different and refreshing and although his characters are peculiar, they are utterly convincing and entirely justified in all their eccentricities. Considering its subject matter- a man tormented by the idea of having cancer, an adulterous marriage, and a woman questioning the genuineness of her love for her fiancé- A Spot of Bother is really very whimsical. Do not take the title at its face value-a reference to the patch of puffed skin George finds on his hip. A Spot of Bother, in its portrayal of a family, alludes to a greater truth about humans…how we may regard one another as a spot of bother in our lives. We only see others’ problems as how they pertain to us. Typically such an observation would make us wallow at our selfishness, but Haddon’s characters exemplify this truth about humanity in such an endearing way that it softens the blow. Not a book necessary to read more than once, but certainly a fun and thoughtful one.
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