Thursday, April 21, 2011
Book Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
I've been spoiled by good books lately; someone needs to recommend something really crappy so I can clear my brain. I'm on the verge of thinking the good stuff is boring just because it's as good as everything else I'm reading. Seriously, send me your worst.
That being said, this book is not boring. It's not terribly exciting, but reading a book told from the eyes of someone with a completely different view of the world is probably my favorite kind of book.
From the back cover: "Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.
"This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years."
Judging by that description, the main character sounds like an odd duck. But the book is written from 15-year-old Christopher's perspective, and the way he describes his own eccentricities makes them sound almost sensible. Dogs are easier to understand than people; they make noises and a few different motions to communicate how they feel. You don't have to try to interpret their facial expressions, and they're not going to lie to you. Reading Christopher's reactions to people and how he absolutely hates to be touched, not even allowing his parents to hug him without screaming, you both pity his parents and feel Christopher's shocking discomfort to physical contact. And though neither of his parents is perfect by a long shot, you end up sympathizing with them, even if Christopher can't.
My husband works with kids with special needs, and he read and recommended this book to me a while ago. I really enjoyed it, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to understand autism a little better.
After this though, I definitely need to take a break from books written in first person from a child's perspective (i.e., this, Room, and The Dead Fathers Club), but I do enjoy it when it's done well, and all of these authors have done it well.