The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.
Yes, I know the rest of the planet read this book five years ago. What can I say, "cutting edge" and "Debi" just don't belong in the same sentence. Anyway, this is definitely one of those cases of better late than never, because I absolutely loved this book! Really, truly loved it.
You know, I'm not even sure I've ever read a review of this book. (I suspect most of you read it in the days before I started blogging.) But I had certainly heard of it, word of mouth and all. And I've honestly wanted to read it for a very long time, but just could never seem to get around to it. What finally pushed me over the edge was Charlotte Moore, author of George & Sam: Two Boys, One Family, & Autism. She mentioned really enjoying The Curious Incident and stated how very authentic it felt to her. To me that was high praise, and it seemed time to get off lazy butt and go dig the book off the shelves.
So, what did I love so much about this book? Is it cheating to say nearly everything? The book is told from Christopher Boone's perspective. In fact, Christopher wrote the book...it's his written version of the story of finding his neighbor's dog, who had been killed with a pitchfork, and his subsequent story of detecting to find out who had done it. Christopher is a fifteen-year-old boy with an autism spectrum disorder. I fell completely in love with Christopher and found myself feeling utterly privileged to be allowed to view his world through his eyes. (And yes, I do know this is a fictional book, but it was one I found so incredibly believably that I couldn't stop myself from feeling these emotions.)
And speaking of emotions, Christopher does not intuitively understand the emotions others are feeling. So his narrative doesn't ascribe emotions onto others. Yet he talks about the things that happen, the words that are spoken. And somehow you end up with a remarkable full story of what his parents, particularly his father, are going through. In case you haven't read this, I don't want to go into particulars, but Christopher's father does something that I find unbearably despicable. And yet I can't find him thoroughly unlikable. It is so very evident to the reader how much he loves his son. Being human, he is certainly fallible. But he never stops trying to do everything he can for Christopher, even if his judgments are sometimes faulty.
But there is so much more I loved about this book, too. Coming from Christopher's perspective made this a thoroughly unique experience. Christopher loves mathematics and science. He loves logic and figuring out puzzles. And all these things come out in his writing. The chapters, instead of being labeled with cardinal numbers as is usual, are numbered by prime numbers. He includes diagrams and sketches. He explains scientific phenomena. And none of this is ever for a second boring, but instead completely fascinating.
If I have any complaint at all, it would be that it seemed to end so quickly. But to have it done any other way, I suspect, would have taken away from its authenticity. So it's actually not a complaint at all.
Compelling. I see no way this book won't make my top reads of the year list.
Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf (Okay, how did I not know that Dewey had reviewed this?!!)
Michelle at 1 More Chapter
Rebecca at The Book Lady's Blog
Natasha at Maw Books Blog
If I've missed your review, please forgive me. And leave me a link in the comments and I will gladly add it to the list. Thanks.
I have loads of blame to dish out (yes, Rich spoiled me rotten for Mother's Day), but I'm so behind in absolutely everything (including blog reading, for which I truly apologize) that I'm afraid I'm probably just going to have to wait a day or two to get to it. Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!