Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: a boy who can't read faces

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a first-person fictional narrative. A 15-year-old boy tells the story in simple language and black-and-white illustrations any normal grade schooler can understand.

Interestingly, though, Christopher John Francis Boone isn't your ordinary kid on the block. He's gifted with superb logic, and he's autistic. I think he may have some kind of Asperger's—which means he can't understand facial expressions and other non-verbal cues, so you have to tell it to him straight in the face. He writes:

I find people confusing. This is for two main reasons. The first main reason is that people do a lot of talking without using any words . . . Siobhan [his teacher] also says that if you close your mouth and breathe out loudly through your nose, it can mean that you are relaxed, or that you are bored, or that you are angry, and it all depends on how much air comes out of your nose and what shape your mouth is when you do it . . . The second main reason is that people often talk using metaphors.
He knows all the countries in the world and their capitals and all the prime numbers until 7,057. His reason:
Prime numbers are what is left after you have taken all the patterns away. 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 also lives on patterns and rules. He gets wild when he's touched, and he detests the color yellow.

This colorful, deep character sets the stage for Mark Haddon's masterpiece. One day Christopher discovers that his neighbor's dog has been stabbed. Because he likes Sherlock Holmes, he embarks on a quest to solve the mystery, a journey that will change the course of his life and his family.

I enjoyed the book because Mark Haddon seems to understand how the brain works. By using simple language, he's able to convey complicated ideas. While I disagree with Christopher's views on spirituality, the book is a great read nonetheless. If you're the type who hates reading but wants to start the habit, you may want to give this a try.

6 comments:

  1. I suddenly remembered a wonderful movie because of your post: Mary & Max.

    Max, too, had Asperger's; to cope he drew this little book of facial expressions and their corresponding emotions.

    I'll go grab myself a copy of this book. =) Thanks Lance.

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  2. That's great, Glenda. On that note, I should watch Mary and Max, too.

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  3. i saw this one in the book stand.. i'll try to get a copy too.. :D actually kuya, basta ginarecommend mo, next hunt ko na na... hahaha... like disgrace by jm coetzee, night ni elie wiesel, and many more.. :D - mike

    PS... dapat i click ko ang webpage mo many times, para may revenues ka! hahaha... :D

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  4. It's great to know that, Mike! Well, it's an easy read, you'll finish it in no time. And you'll laugh your heart out, if I may say so.

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  5. been wanting to read it. hehe

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  6. By all means, go ahead, Tugaff! Mabilis lang siya. Parang story book nga 'yung dating.

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