Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I highly recommend Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which apprently now is being made into a movie. The main character Christopher is a 15 year old with Aspergers. He's high functioning but has severe sensory issues and lack of empathy.

I actually thought it was a mystery--a neighbor's dog has been killed and he is going to find out who did it. But that "investigation" doesn't go very far and instead the novel is really about understanding Christopher's view of the world but perhaps even more importantly, how the rest of the world--especially his parents--deals with it. From the perspective of a parent of a chile with Aspergers (though not nearly as severe), it succeeds in every way for me. I gobbled it up in half a day.

Adults constantly get annoyed at Christopher for his behavior, even swearing at him, not realizing that it corresponds to a clear logic. The problem is that logic is not immediately apparent to anyone except people who know him very well. That puts a strain on his parents, though without spoiling anything I will say that some of their reactions are a bit over the top.

But his navigation of new environments felt spot on. As he is inundated with new problems, he does his best to work them out according to his own logic, all the time largely unaware of how it affects other people. So as it turns out, the book is quite sad but he feels successful.


Lillie Langtry 11:11 AM  

Yes, it's very good.

I didn't realise for ages that the title is a quotation from a Sherlock Holmes story.

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