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Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: A Novel

I had never picked this book up, regardless of seeing the Broadway show and loving it. This is Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Christopher John Francis Boone is a young man in a special school for children with gifts and he is spon taking his A level maths. He is on the Autism spectrum, and he is a genius who has difficulty relating to others. His mother has died and his father is raising him, and one night the neighbors dog is murdered. Christopher sets out to find out what happened to him, setting into motion a series of events that will change the course of his life and take him to places he never imagined going. 

I was quite taken by this book. My husband and I purchased a copy for his mother a while back in hopes she would relate to the main character, as she is a retired special education teacher for students on the spectrum. I don't know if she ever read it, but when I saw a copy at the used bookstore, I realized how much I wanted to read it. I read it over the course of two days at home in Atlanta, and it was a lovely, empathetic portrait of a young man coming of age with a disorder that is so difficult to understand and even more difficult to treat. 

The most wonderful part of this book was the kindness and care that Haddon took with Christopher. This is the very definition of the writer getting out of the way of his character, allowing him to tell us who he is and what happens to him, rather than the writer. Christopher's trip to London was so well written and so full of life that I experienced it from Christopher's perspective. It was lovely and frightening, worrying me as a mother and a teacher, but also making me proud that the young man could take it upon himself to make the trip. 

This book, written a few years back, is a testament to treating young men and women who are neuro-atypical with such repoire and with the respect that they deserve not just as humans, but as the protagonists of their own stories. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Chris's school is for people with behaviour and learning difficulties, and, yes, they do have gifts too!

    And I think your husband's mum might relate to Haddon as she did the same job.

    Some aspects of treatment are more easy than the understanding, Nicole.

    Rapport - that is exactly right.

    And, yes, neurodivergents as heroes of their and our narratives!