Book Club – Review

From @orphanani

“I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.” – Christopher, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was recommended to me by GDNAL. If I hadn’t been particularly turned onto the book by someone whose opinion I trusted, I probably would have put it down within the first ten pages, but I’m glad that I didn’t. The most poignant parts of this book are the bits that Christopher, the autistic main character, doesn’t understand. Christopher reports on the events that happen in the book, like his father crying or his mother and his father yelling at each other. Yet, he doesn’t understand the significance of these events. It is interesting how the main character can describe a scene that he doesn’t understand, and yet you, as the reader, without an emotionally descriptive narrative can understand perfectly. The most interesting and saddening of these interjections is the exchange between Christopher’s mother and her new boyfriend. Christopher doesn’t understand what they’re arguing about, and yet the reader perfectly comprehends the difficulty of dealing with a child who is ‘different’ from the other children. I felt emotionally torn between the father and the mother. The one who stuck with his difficult child, and the latter who couldn’t deal with the heartache.

Christopher explains how he likes things in a certain order. Often, the things which he likes don’t
make sense (like why three red cars in a row are better than five yellow cars in a row) but he explains that things that ‘normal’ people like don’t make sense either – like a sunny day, as opposed to a cloudy one, or putting your right sock on first. Christopher makes us question our conceptions about normal and unusual, as well as what’s ‘right’ or ‘logical’. I find the dichotomy between people who loved or hated this book to be interesting. For instance, just read some reviews on Amazon. A lot of people who have Asperger’s hate this book. And I can understand feeling misrepresented by the novel. A lot of individuals complain that while they may not understand the emotions of others around them, it doesn’t mean that they don’t experience a whole range of emotions. I can’t speak to the accuracy of this, but I can say that many of the reviewers miss the point of the novel. Many complain that the novel is written as a murder mystery but the mystery is solved halfway through. I’d say that those people miss the point. The novel is written as an interesting perspective on people who see the world through a different lens than most of us. Whether or not that lens is accurate, I can’t say. But it certainly provided me with an interesting view.

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