The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I stayed up past midnight to finish this book, whilst crying for probably the last fifteen minutes. But more on that later.
Initially, this was a hard book for me to continue reading past the first page or two. The reason for that is two-fold. For starters, it opens with the death of a dog (that's in the description people; it's not a spoiler). As a self-described "animal person," the description of Wellington's death was a little hard to read.
Secondly, it's hard for me to read or watch scenes in which a character is unable to communicate their needs to others. I can tell what's going on and empathize greatly, but the other characters can't. I point to scene in How to Train Your Dragon as an example: it's sometimes excruciating for me to watch how long it takes Hiccup to figure out that Toothless doesn't leave because his wing is injured. So my empathy for Christopher and frustration for his situation almost stopped me from reading, but I'm glad I didn't.
His very unique point of view is what drives the reader to keep going in this book. Don't let its small size fool you; it's incredibly dense and emotional (and makes excellent use of footnotes!). I kept reading (past midnight) because I couldn't stop with Christopher still in pain of any kind. I knew there just had to be some kind of "happy ending" or at least a bit of a resolution, and I refused to go to sleep before I got there. His pain and my own pathos would have kept me from an easy sleep.
If, at some point, I write a paper analyzing this book, I would probably tackle the subject of Christopher's mother's handwriting as I believe her writing is some kind of commentary on the kind of person or mother she is (and I'm not sure how I feel about that).
Lastly, there were some parts of Christopher's personality and his logic and way of relating to the world that resonated so much with me (and made complete sense to me) that I don't doubt my own placement somewhere on the autism spectrum. It's a bit of a relief to see in print ways that I feel and things that I experience but can't seem to adequately verbalize.
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