I almost only gave this book four stars down to the physical and audible queaziness that I felt whilst reading four pages exactly halfway through this book (I say reading, but it was more the reading equivalent of how you watch gruesome films through the gaps between fingers and blurred vision of squinting). Truth is that that scene, which you will recognise as soon as you get it is both brilliantly handled and absolutely necessary to the story.
Once again Mark Haddon has produced a book which brilliantly captures human nature, with virtually every character both likeable and detestable at different times. There is no single bad guy just as there is not one hero you root for. Actually for a story that starts with the admission that daughter Katie is about to marry boyfriend Ray – a man with “strangler’s hands” – it is probably Ray who is as normal and nice as any of them!
Like all of Mark Haddon’s books, this novel succeeds at both being hilariously funny, and absolutely thought-provoking and serious.