Fiction · Sadie J

The Red House | by Mark Haddon

The Red House by Mark Haddon
(Doubleday, 2012, 272 pages)

Angela and her brother Richard have never been very close. But after their mother passes away, Richard invites Angela and her family to take a vacation with his family as a chance to get to know each other. So begins the week of sharing a vacation home between Angela, her husband Dominic, their kids Alex, Daisy, and Benjy, Richard, his new wife Louisa, and her daughter Melissa. Each family member is lost in a little way and through the week they become closer to coming to terms with who they are. Whether its Dominic’s guilt for his adultery, Daisy’s reasoning behind becoming religious, or Melissa’s bullying that comes to a dangerous head with one of her school mates, everyone has a secret. And these secrets will either bring this extended family together, or drive them further apart.

One of my favorite things about this book was that the reader got to see the point of view from each character. Haddon lets the reader know what each character is secretly thinking or longing for during almost every scene. But how he achieves this is what made the book difficult for me to read. Haddon switches the narrating character every few paragraphs. He never stays on one character for too long and sometimes doesn’t let the reader know who is speaking until the end of their passage. This made it especially confusing because there were eight different characters and storylines to keep up with.

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