Monday, November 1, 2010

A Spot of Bother

Recently I read a great book called A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon. It's not the usual sort of book for me. It's sort of a family drama with a bit of romance and some British humor. Nothing supernatural, nothing historic, nothing mysterious, fantastic or even exciting and it's certainly not educational. I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by the same author several years ago mainly because it is in the point of view of an autistic child, and I am interested in autistic children since we have autism in the family and several family members work with the autistic population. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was a mystery, of sorts, and I rather enjoyed it so I thought I'd give the author another go.

One thing that amazes me about this author is his ability to write from the point of view of another person. His characters are full of depth, passion and realism. This man is not autistic (to my knowledge) but he managed to write an autistic boy into being with amazing realism in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Likewise, he was able to create a young gay man, a passionate young woman, a bored elderly housewife and an old man wandering into dementia in A Spot of Bother with amazing clarity and realism. I could not have done it, perhaps that's why I stick to nonfiction.

My husband says it's a girly book, and perhaps it is. I was actually surprise the author wasn't a woman.

A Spot of Bother is the story of a wedding. The daughter (the aforementioned passionate young woman) announces she is going to marry a man nobody in the family really likes (though none of them have a good reason for it). Meanwhile, her father is having a nervous breakdown, her mother is trying to feel like a woman again and her brother is so busy worrying about what everyone else thinks he doesn't notice his own relationship is falling apart. Meanwhile, the bride-to-be and her intended are both having their own second thoughts as the couple loses all control over the wedding plans. Throw in her very small son from a previous marriage just to complicate things further and, well, hilarity ensues. It's definitely a love story three times over. All three couples have challenges to face, every individual makes a fool of him or herself in the process and the reader is entertained throughout.

This is light reading, but not the sort that leaves you feeling like your brain needs a good scrubbing. I highly recommend it and I am looking forward to reading more from this author. He hasn't disappointed me yet (though my husband doesn't agree)