Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Red House * Mark Haddon

The Red House by Mark Haddon

Two families. Seven days. One house.

Angela and her brother Richard have spent twenty years avoiding each other. Now, after the death of their mother, they bring their families together for a holiday in a rented house on the Welsh border. Four adults and four children. Seven days of shared meals, log fires, card games and wet walks.

But in the quiet and stillness of the valley, ghosts begin to rise up. The parents Richard thought he had. The parents Angela thought she had. Past and present lovers. Friends, enemies, victims, 

Imagine going for a weeks holiday with another half of your family that you don't get on with much and never have. Well, this is what happens with two very different families but very much related set on an adventure together, and this is there tale of what can happen.

Being in close proximity, having to put up with the other side for a week and you're parents and children forcing you to get along with everyone. We all know how that feels don't we?

In the first family we have Dominic and Angela, both husband and wife married for year with three beautiful children and both baring secrets and problems away from each other. Dominic is a bit lost within their marriage and doesn't know where to turn.  So when his secret life with his co-worker gets a bit too much and out of hand he doesn't know where to turn, he can't tell his beloved Angela, but someone needs to know. 

Angela has bigger problems on her mind, it's the birthday of her first born on Thursday, she would be eighteen, something she can never forget. Those fin like gills on her baby, the way her face looked different from all the other babies on the ward. But she didn't have the heart to look at her fully, to cherish her in her arms and tell her child that everything will be okay. But she couldn't. And now it's coming back to haunt her, her little monster. It's haunting her, lurking in the darkness, watching Angela trying to enjoy her life, taking over her mind, with no-one there to help her.  

Alex, there oldest. The mountain biking, climbing, camping, athlete and adrenalin junkie of a son. Loving the outdoors and every minute of it, always wanting to be on an adventure and in the wilderness, trying to survive it all.

And then he finds something out that he shouldn't have, and something that her certainly didn't want to know. Though when your in a tricky situation, what do you do? Who do you turn to? Can he tell his mother or can he tell his younger sister Daisy? And to top it all off, when he has a crush on his bitch of a cousin, what does he do now? 

Then there's Daisy. The goody-two-shoes christian daughter. Trying to befriend people is hard since she joined the church, she lost all her old friends and gain new ones, but there not the same. She has mind games that are going on in her head, she has failed the lord and she believes she will truly by punished, and will be going to hell. In the end, does she follow what her heart tells her? Or what her mind tells her? What is right and what is wrong int he eyes of god. Does she become herself finally, or does she stay and please him and live with the doubt for the rest of her life? Because after all, it is god. 

Benji, the youngest of all three children and the one with the least problems on his mind. Running around without a care in the world, pretending to be a pirate, dinosaur, zombie. He doesn't want to be a group up like his mum and dad, he doesn't want the arguments that they have and what other adults have and the shouting at each other. 

He just wants to carry on buying plastic swords and fighting off the space aliens in the back garden. But this start to confuse him, when he finds something she should of found on a text. Though he doesn't know who to tell, and it's forever eating away at him. 

And last but not least welcome to the second family, which consists of Richard, Angela's older brother. He is in a bit of a pickle himself, with the operation that went wrong on the younger girl and not having spoke to Angela in sixteen years. Things are bound to bubble up and overflow. But he can't shake the feeling of there being so much tension between him and his little sister, was it to do with him or is parents? He didn't know, but what he did know, is that he didn't like his step daughter on bit. 

Louisa, Richards wife is a quiet one. She doesn't get into anyone's business, keeps to herself and loves Richard doubtfully. Though her relationship with her only teenage daughter is lost forever and strained. She misses her little girl, the way she would cradle her in her arms when she was so young. But those times are long gone. Though when her life long secret gets out to Richard, Louisa wants to hide away forever and never come back out of hiding. But it will never leave her. 

Last but certainly not least, there's Melissa, Louisa's daughter. Selfish, mean and spiteful Melissa is used to getting her own way and what she always wants. But when Richard catches her doing something she shouldn't be doing, she panics. Though Melissa has problems of her own, with all the teenagers at school. She certainly doesn't like Benji, he is too annoying and so is Daisy with her religious side of things and there strained relationship. She doesn't know what to do about her feelings with Alex either, everything is so muddled up. 

Join this family as they wade through there problems and how to fix them, and how they can turn from not liking anyone, to all getting a long with each other. 

Hi there all! First of all I would like to say sorry for not posting in a while and second of all, sorry that is is such a long review. I promise the next one will be quite short (which will be posted up sooner than you think) 

I really liked The Red House by Mark Haddon. It was a very different read from what I'm used to, but I'm glad I picked it up and had a read. it was a bit confusing at the beginning because I never knew who I was reading about, it doesn't have a title or go by each character by a different chapter. But after I got the hand of who the characters were, I understood it more. 

I loved the way it was family based, I really enjoyed it which surprised me because at first I found it a bit boring and confusing, but I'm glad I read it until the end, I couldn't put it down. It had so many twists and turns throughout the book I didn't know where to read! 

I think my favorite character was Benji, I think he was portrayed very well by Haddon, well written in the mind of an eight year old, just loved his character so much, he was so care free and didn't know what was happening within the adult and teenage world. I love the relationship Alex, Daisy and Benji had with each other, it reminded me of how my younger brother and I used to be and sometimes still are. The way Angela was portrayed was fantastic!

I really enjoyed this book and it will be re-read one day, I encourage people to read this if they want something different or along the lines of a family read. It's a wonderful heart warming story that involved becoming of age, sorting problems out and finding who you are. 

I will give this book 8.5 out of 10

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