The Red House is a family drama about an extended family who are on a week-long holiday together for the first time. The family consists of Angela, her husband Dominic and their three children seventeen-year-old sex-obsessed Alex, sixteen-year-old Christian Daisy and eight-year-old Benji. The other family is Angela’s estranged brother Richard the doctor, his wife Louisa and his teenage step-daughter Melissa who is a bit spoilt. The two families really don’t know each other that well so naturally there is conflict and confusion.
I’ve previously read (and loved) Mark Haddon’s other two books The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and A Spot of Bother so I had high hopes for The Red House and I wasn’t disappointed. The Red House is written in fragments from the different characters points of view which is different and unusual but it’s a great way to get quick snapshots into the characters thoughts.
Each character is complex and has positive and negative traits and one moment a character can be likable and then the next annoying and unlikable. It changes as you get other characters perception of their family members as well so numerous times my favourite character out of the bunch suddenly turned into my least favourite and vise versa.
There isn’t much of a plot to The Red House with only a few “major events” as it’s a character driven novel. That being said I found the family-dynamics of the characters interesting and compelling.
I liked how The Red House didn’t end all neatly and tied up, the characters still had problems with themselves and various members of their family because one week all together in one house isn’t going to sort everything out. In that sense The Real House felt very true to life and so I gave it 5/5.