Tuesday, October 31, 2006

BOOK REVIEW

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by mark haddon: This is a novel about Christopher Boone, who is autistic and a math genius. Christopher finds his neighbor's dog after it had been killed with a gardening fork. At first, Christopher is blamed. He goes about solving the mystery of who killed the dog, and in doing so, inadvertently solves another mystery that has greatly impacted his life. As we follow him in his investigation, we catch a glimpse of what it is like for someone with autism to navigate his world and relationships.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I was immediately caught up in the story line. So much so, that there was a very interesting and deliberate math twist in the writing of this book that I completely missed because I was engrossed in the characters. I knew there was a problem and flipped through the chapters noticing that something very odd was going on. There were HUGE clues. And, when it all was revealed a few chapters into the book, I had to laugh at myself for not getting it on my own. (Gosh, I am trying to be so careful and not give anything away!!) You will totally fall for Christopher. You will care about him and you will want him to succeed in his investigation. You will find him very brave and perhaps more insightful than others might give him credit for.
Haddon does a great job of portraying the autistic mind and thought process. I did see a lot of similarities with so-called "normal" minds though they might not be as pronounced in the average person. The need for structure for example--I listen to the radio on the way IN to work in the mornings and a CD on the way HOME from the office. Relationships--don't we all set definite boundaries in our relationships and aren't we protective of maintaining those boundaries? Don't we get upset when those boundaries have been crossed? Coping skills--we all have defaults in a crisis or stressful situation. We all have thresholds for socialization and feel the need to escape when we go over our limit.
I was disappointed that Haddon portrayed Christopher without any faith. I know that by making his main character a math genius with a very scientific and logical mind, Haddon may have felt that belief in God would have taken the story off track or made it unbelievable. I would have loved to have seen how Christopher would interact with God. Also, I found myself wishing that Christopher could talk to God about all the things he wondered and worried about, but more so, that he could have discussed the wonder of mathematics with the Creator of math. My mind is very simple, but I imagined that it would have been exhilarating for Christopher to ponder mathematical puzzles with God.
This book made me remember a boy I grew up with as a child. The son of a family friend, Peter was mildly autistic. But, I never knew until I was an adult. We interacted with him as if all was normal because no one told us differently. Peter was just Peter and my brothers and I just accepted that.
This is a good read, can be read in a day. I recommend it!

5 comments:

Richard said...

That was a wonderful book. I was hesitant when I started reading it - so many books of late have been really, really poor.

You can always write a book in which the main character is autistic and explores his/her relationship with God.

Tom Harry said...
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Tom Harry said...

Ooooo-- this is the book I never got to finish c/o that summer math scholarship!!

i really loved what I read so far, though, cos christopher's simplicity displayed how complex he was, and it seems very honest, how the story was written.

having christopher explore faith and God sounds intriguing... it'd bring more philosophy into the story, too, i guess.

KayMac said...

TH-christopher's simplicity displayed how complex he was---good point.

as i said, i am a simple mind but maybe i will take a stab at christopher conversating w/ God. Or maybe one of you greater minds could.

V. said...

This is one of those books that I have been wanting to read for a long time, thanks for the review.