Monday, 8 September 2008

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

I’m afraid this has ceased to be in order of my reading, but I can’t blog as fast as I read, so I tend to forget what I’ve reviewed and what I haven’t.

This one was a curiously simple, but interesting read. Christopher John Francis Boone is a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who finds the body of his neighbour’s dog with a pitchfork through it. He sets out to find the culprit, but his search is more a manner of revealing his mind and thought processes to the reader during a particularly difficult time in his life. As mentioned, the book is fairly simple to read, but the simplicity almost seems to be there to hide difficult concepts Christopher isn’t yet ready to deal with. It’s as though he is arriving at obvious and necessary conclusions by the roundabout route of searching for the dog’s killer. He can’t look at life directly, so he does it in a way which allows him time to come to terms with a problem almost before he realizes what the problem actually is.

I get the feeling the book itself only touches on the many problems of living life with Asperger’s. I imagine that it would be much more difficult for all parties in long term reality than it was in this short tale. Christopher seems to find ways to deal with things, but sometimes his coping mechanisms cause the people around him to experience the same stress he is experiencing, only caused by his reactions to what most people would consider normal. It’s almost like he’s caught up in a vicious circle over which he has little control. Having said that, left to himself he has an astounding ability to deal with things that not many people with a less challenging life would not have. He can overcome obstacles if left to do it in his own way, as unconventional as those ways may be, like when he hides in the luggage rack on the way to London. He arrives in London in relative comfort despite acting in a manner which most people would consider unusual at best and inhuman at worst. Stuffing a child in a luggage rack would seem like mistreatment under normal circumstances, yet Christopher is happier that way than he would have been in a first class carriage. All in all it’s a strange world to consider, from a non-Asperger’s point of view. It’s odd to think how differently one person can view things from another, which is why this book seems to turn the world upside down and leaves you wondering who is actually normal.


Olga said...

I really wanted to like this book when I picked it up, but it depressed me and I have bad feelings toward it now. I just felt like all the adults were such knuckleheads.

Tara said...

This book was huge when I worked at the bookstore and I never did actually find out what it was about. Interesting!