After picking it up and putting it down for about seven weeks, I finally finished reading Mark Haddon’s second novel, A Spot of Bother. It’s a smart and funny read, but for some unfathomable reason, it took me way too long to finish.
Usually if I struggle to get through a book, I toss it aside and start a new one. Life’s too short and there are so many books on my “to read list,” that I can’t spend too much time fighting through a novel. But, I was committed to finish A Spot of Bother.
I started the book in January, while visiting family in Ottawa. I really enjoyed the British wit, the quirky characters and all the talk of making tea, but once I returned to Moncton, I put it down for a couple of weeks to read Through Black Spruce for my book club.
After I finished Through Black Spruce, I planned to return to A Spot Bother, but it sat on my nightstand for days untouched. I had read about 150 pages, so I didn’t want to start over, but I had difficulty picking up where I’d left off.
Eventually, I got back into the novel and I’d leaf through a few pages each evening, but I couldn’t gain any momentum. It seemed the harder I tried to read it the more I struggled to stick with it.
The novel is written from the perspective of four different characters. The shift in the narration occurs every two or three pages so the story moves at fast pace. And even though I enjoyed each character’s perspective, nonetheless, I couldn’t devote adequate time to finish the book. For the past two weeks, each evening I would confidently announce that tonight was the night I’d finish the book, only to be distracted by blogging, television or Super Nintendo.
However, tonight it all changed. I turned off the television, ignored the Super Nintendo, put on some classical music and diligently read the final 90 pages of the book. The novel was humorous throughout, but the last fifty pages, were some of the funniest I’ve ever read.
The book is a wonderful piece of literature that deals with a family that struggles to function. Each member is too wrapped up in their own lives to notice how much they need each other for support.
If you enjoy the foibles of everyday life, unique characters, and lots of laughs you will enjoy A Spot of Bother. There’s absolutely no reason why anyone should struggle to finish this book. So what was the problem? I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I can guarantee that it wasn’t the book’s fault.