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Member Name: wyvern9lb
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: Adult Edition - Mark Haddon
Date: 04/03/10, updated on 06/03/10 (71 review reads)
Advantages: Gripping story, A real insight in the mind of a child with Asperger's
Disadvantages: chapters skip from past to future, can be confusing (like my review)
The Layout of the book is a unique insight into the mind of a child with Asperger's syndrome. So I decided to try and write the review in a similar style as the book, unfortunately not as humorous as I am not much of a comedian. As you can see, someone has already commented this can make my review seem confusing.
I will be the first to admit that I am not much of a reader, as you could probably tell by my bad use of spelling and grammar. I am more into problem solving. The only books I tend to buy are logic puzzle books and Sudoku puzzles. I suppose in that way I am a bit like the main character (Christopher) in the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time who loves patterns.
I found this book at my local charity shop for 10p and I remembered that during my training as a Maths teacher I was recommended to read this book to give me an insight into the mind of a child with Asperger's syndrome. So I thought what a bargain, go on then let's give it a go.
I was very surprised with myself as I actually couldn't put the book down, (usually a read about 5 pages of a book then put it down and never pick it up again). The Chapters are really short, only about 3-5 pages to each chapter, which appeals to me as I am not a big reader, so at least I can finish a chapter. I managed to finish it in just 3 days.
The book caught my interest straight away; I enjoyed how the character Christopher Boone described the scene in precise detail. This gave me the sense that I was actually there inside the story along side him (a feeling I don't usually get when I read a book). For example, here Christopher is describing when he found the dog "Its eyes were closed. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog. The points of the fork must have gone all the way through because the fork had not fallen over".
The main reason why I like this book is the use of child-like simplicity, I can't read a book with long fancy words as I don't have a clue what they mean, and I don't fancy having to read a book then look up what a word means. So anybody of any age should be able to read this without needing the dictionary.
What caught my eye was the chapter numbers were prime numbers, and as Christopher explains the reason is because he likes prime numbers as he has a logical mind. I could relate to this as being a maths teacher I too have a logical mind. Throughout the story Christopher uses lists (such as contents of his pockets). Like Christopher, I too like making lists (especially shopping list as I tend to forget what I went in for). I felt I could relate to the character and understand his way of thinking. Hence, my choice of subtitles.
At first I did find it hard to follow as the chapters skipped between the past and the present (a bit like when you watch pulp fiction) but I also found it refreshing. I wouldn't have suspected this from a logical mind. I can relate to Christopher quite a lot the time. When I am talking to people, I blurt things out as I tend to have a conversation in my head, think I have said it out loud. This can drive my partner daft at times. My best friend finds it funny thou, especially when I asked her, in the middle of a conversation "Do I look like Fiona from Shrek?" (which is the nick name some of my pupils came up with).
The main storyline is about Christopher, who has discovered his neighbour's dog dead in the garden, murdered by a pitch fork. Despite getting a caution for thumping the policemen called to investigate, and against his dad's telling him to stay out of it "It's a bloody dog". He decides to investigate the mystery and write a book about his adventures for a school project, after all he loves dogs, they are not a complicated as people. Throughout the mystery you also get to know about his past. How he felt about his mother dying of heart attack and his understanding of God and Heaven. You can see the difference between his relationship between his father and his teacher and how they approach his behaviour. His father's frustration in some of his constant questions compared to the clear instruction given by the teacher. Christopher regularly has problems with instructions, For example "people often say 'Be quiet' but they don't tell you how long to be quiet". I can see his point, not very clear if you think about it logically.
The uses of diagrams throughout the book really help in the understanding of how Christopher's mind works. Such as how he describes his good days and black days in terms of cars."4 red cars in a row made it a good day" and "4 yellow cars in a row made it a black day" (he hates the colour yellow). When he is asked why? He replies that when the sun is shining it makes people happy, and sad when it's raining, it only the weather. I know why they recommend teachers read this book as it clearly shows how a person with Asperger's really feels, thinks and behaves. After I finished reading it I felt comfortable in my characteristics and not as alone any more.
Summary: Recommend that all people working with children must read this book