The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a mystery uniquely told. This book provides a glimpse into the mind of an autistic child. It is a story about Christopher, a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome–a kind of autism. The language – grammar and vocabulary – used in this book is so straight and simple because this book is written from Christopher’s point of view. What is on Christopher’s mind!
An autistic teenager whose left brain is more dominant than his right brain (emotional side of the brain) which explains his fascination for numbers and patterns. He tries to memorize what human facial expressions mean, and learns idioms by rote. He has a photographic memory and likes everything that is systematic. However, he is unable to express himself in words. His view of the world is simple: if it is not true, it is a lie. If he doesn’t know a person, he is a stranger. If it is yellow or brown, it can’t be touched. And nobody, not his father, not even his mother can touch him. He can’t reciprocate his feelings due to which he is misunderstood as being emotionally numb.
Details are richly observed and often overwhelming, and normal human behavior and motivations are often completely befuddling.
Of course, just like no twins are same, not every person with an autism spectrum disorder is the same, but Mark Haddon describes the fundamentals of how many people with autism experience the world. What we may see as quirky, makes perfect sense to Christopher, the story’s narrator, a fifteen year old boy with autism.
The way Mark Haddon has portrayed him is absolutely marvelous and without a doubt unforgettable. This book explores one boy’s life journey. His hopes for the future, his dreams, and this book explores his amazingly imaginative and intelligent mind and how he comprehends various things in a simpler way which we ‘so-called-normal’ people tend to overlook.
After reading this book one will learn the importance of feelings in our world and how we relate to them, comprehend them, manipulate them, understand them and how frequently it is taken-for-granted. It challenges our sense of values in the context of feelings and hopefully encourages us to develop our sensitivity to our feelings and towards those who matter to us, especially during our busy schedules. (I am able to understand one of my autistic acquaintance in a much much better way now.)
As you read the book, you would see the world as if from the eyes of a child, which is a beautiful and enjoyable experience. Every now and then you will stop with a big smile…but when you sit back and think from an adult view, you will suddenly feel sad.
A unique and an engaging story. I couldn’t put it down!
P.S. Being an Honors graduate in Mathematics myself, I would recommend it to readers who enjoy mathematics as they will be prompted to the occasional smile! 🙂