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on 27 August 2017
I read Curious Incident (which I loved) eight years ago, which I’m glad about because I read this one in its own right and without comparing them overly. Gosh I enjoyed this book! It’s very different from my usual reading fodder (I’m a thriller addict) but I was absolutely absorbed by the characters and the minutiae of their modern family lives, which revolved around a family wedding. Funny and sad, giving insights into a small, almost claustrophobic world, the story built into a beautiful climax I was waiting for, and didn’t disappoint.
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on 22 December 2015
This is possibly my favourite ever book. It is one of the few books that I have read more than once. I can honestly say that I laughed out loud whilst reading this many, many times. It may be that it suits my slightly offbeat sense of humour but this book really, really amused me. The author's style is just so wonderfully enjoyable in my opinion. He captures those little idiosyncrasies each of us have with humorous panache and weaves a convincingly unorthodox and delicate web family relationships with such warmth and care that you can't help but live these amusing and sometimes pathetic (in the truest sense) turn of events with them. I'm my opinion this book is far superior to Mark's more popular venture The curious incident.

I urge you to read this book and hope very much that you find it one tenth as funny and memorable as I did, in which case you are genuinely in for a treat.
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on 2 April 2016
I enjoyed this book because I like the way Mark Haddon creates very real, believable characters, people who I care for and, in some cases, can relate to. Strange how a book can be very funny but really touch on some sad stuff as well.
I have to say though, and I'm sorry, I don't mean to be a prude, but I just didn't want to hear that much of the amorous activity. I also found I had to skip a few pages because I'm very squeamish.( I'm being a bit vague because I'm trying not give away any of the story here.)

I thought the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime was absolutely brilliant and although not quite as good this is still very worthy of the 4 stars and I will definitely read more books by Mark Haddon
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on 19 March 2016
I did enjoy this novel, and has been stated in other reviews the writing was lucid and moved the story on well, and the characters were well described. The humour was for me the best part of the book, it really was out loud laughter. However, I did find the plot a little silly, it seemed to have the antics at time as similar to a Whitehall Farce, updated to include the gay aspect of the story. Mark Haddon manages to stretch out a story to over 500 pages, yet he never became boring just a bit predictable with all the various scenarios, but certainly all the characters played their part in the on-going story. Definitely 4*, but there was a great deal of scope that needed to be included in the novel to make it 5*.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 March 2017
This is a very light read suitable for the beach. It is written in a conversational style, mildly amusing and quickly forgettable. I chose it because the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is, in my view, a superb book. Unfortunately this has none of the genius and I wouldn't have guessed it was written by the same author
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on 11 December 2012
This book is generally enjoyable but I felt it was overlong. It can, however, be read in short bursts since most chapters are only three or so pages. All in all, however, it has that feel of a soap opera wedding: something's bound to go wrong and it does.

One of our members suggested that there were stylistic similarities with the work of David Lodge.

It has a dated feel: Brookside stopped being broadcast a long time ago. Does anyone still buy Zipper magazine?

The key character, George, is well-portrayed: becoming cynical and out o0f touch as is typical for his age: `Human beings were not meant to be sealed into tins and fired through the sky by fan-assisted rockets.' `...things changed. Mobile phones. Thai restaurants'. `The human mind was not designed for sunbathing and light novels ` He can cope with the notion of sexuality if is between men who have been without the company of women for a long time but is not keen on the thought of them buying furniture: sex without relationship seems preferable to him.

His son, Jamie is grateful that his neighbours are Christians: `you could say what you liked about Christians, but they didn't yodel during sex like the Germans who'd lived there before.' He enjoys hearing how some people had their clothes stolen at a nudist beach - always carry a rucksack.

There is a sensitive portrait of a gay couple by a straight author and he writes in convincing detail about a mental breakdown and the rational (yet ultimately unsuccessful) planning undertaken to avoid hurting others. The author must have done much research.

The arguing over toothpaste is a realistic portrayal of married relationships, as is the second-best which people settle for when cruising

There is one annoyingly `Mills & Boon' style sentence: `she was melting into that dark behind her eyelids, the way butter melted in a hot pan, the way you melted back into sleep after waking up at night, just letting it take you.' Also, to say that the only thing wrong with celibacy is the lack of sex is somewhat stupid and unfunny.

There is one loose end that annoys me: what happened to the tramp on the railway line?
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on 30 March 2010
Halfway through - should I carry on? Three stars.

High energy intro. References drawn from the rainbow of human emotion and happening. Switching, constantly switching. Never resting. Surely the energy that flows through the first 200 pages cannot be continued. It's kind of perversely invigorating. But I'm restless.

Why am I hating this book? Is it because these dysfunctional middle-England go-nowhere moaners are taking over my life? Making it even more depressing? Do I really need to see into the mind of a Daily Mail reader? I'm halfway through. Should I continue? Worst still, I appear to be turning into "disgruntled" from Tunbridge Wells.

Positively, I know Mark can write brilliantly, he's shown that skill to great effect pages 1 to 200. Yes, I'll continue. Because I feel uncomfortable - the characters make me feel uncomfortable. I don't hope for their salvation - I'm looking forward to their miserable decline. I hope the second half of the book meets my expectations and that they all die - horribly - and go away. If they don't, I'll be very, very disappointed.

Book finished - And I wanted it to carry on! Five stars.

Following up from the above halfway-through review I want to give the book, and especially author Mark Haddon an honestly deserved five stars.

Yes, I still hate the central characters but don't, any longer, want them to die a horrible death. I just want them to go away, but amusingly they won't.

After finishing the book I went on the usual Saturday shopping trip. In amongst the crowds I spotted Georges, Jeans, Jamies and Katies. And I just couldn't help wondering, if not inventing, their marital and mental states. It was great fun, as opposed to the shopping itself which wasn't.

Full power to Mark who retained exceptional energy in the book, from start to finish. The energy is in the writing and superb characterisation, not, I hasten to add, in the characters themselves who are largley uncommunicative and therefore pretty much dysfunctional. A sublime contrast.

It's a great laugh and a great read which pumps up the volume with a seamlessly fluid, modern, accessible yet intelligent writing style.

Apologies for my initial, conservative (middle England?) three stars. Five stars now and nothing less!
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on 23 November 2008
The painful anatomy of a family, with a funny side to it. And for those who, like me, have already read and appreciated `The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time', this is a very different book by the same author.

George, the father, has retired and seems content with his pressure-free life. His wife Jean is mightily distracted by some private matters and the organization of the wedding reception for their daughter Katie, who is getting married for the second time. Her parents disapprove of Ray, the future son-in-law and Katie herself is starting to have doubts. Does she want to marry Ray because she loves him or because he seems to be a very good and reliable provider for herself and her son Jacob? Meanwhile Jamie, Katie's brother, is having problems with his boyfriend Tony. His parents are aware of the relationship but an invitation to the wedding seems inappropriate given the fact that none of the other relatives/friends know about Jamie's homosexuality. Jamie himself is not sure whether he wants Tony to come to the wedding or not.
The buzz & fuzz of the wedding preparation go almost unnoticed by George, however, as he discovers a problem on his body. Almost simultaneously and by pure coincidence, an entirely different matter, of a different nature but very disturbing indeed, comes to light. Unbeknownst to all, he starts to slowly disintegrate psychologically.

Among the tragicity of some of the episodes, the author was able to combine the intricacies of the mind and soul of the Hall family, with an easy and accessible narrative. Many hilarious and funny moments dot this novel without lessening the emotional impact. Very well done.
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on 14 August 2017
Easy enough to read. A farce with some laugh out loud moments and some touching development of characters. But the trite repetitive bigotry against Working class people (rough; unintelligent and brash) and Christians (no fun; anti-gay) was grating and one dimensional
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on 19 April 2014
I chose 4 stars as the book is quite interesting but not amazing. I definitely prefer Mark Haddon's book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. If you're reading this, please consider this reading the latter book before this one! ;)

Be warned, this book is only for adult readers as it has awkwardly detailed descriptions...

Mark Haddon certainly enjoys writing books from the point of view of someone who's not perceived as 'normal' by society. In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, he had Autism yet the main character in this novel is an old man losing his mind! It's a good idea but not completely impactful. I hope I'm not putting you off this book as it's not awful. Otherwise, I wouldn't give it 4 stars :D
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