Sunday Read: The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime.

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Christopher Boone, a teenager with a rather extraordinary talent for studies(especially maths) lives in Swindon with his father and a pet rat, Toby. He is a teenager and is the first kid to do a maths a level in his school,also he abhors the colour yellow and brown. He intends to become an astronaut, but is not quite fond of the idea of meeting strange people, that is until the day he finds himself involved in the case of his neighbour’s ‘murdered dog.’

Mark Haddon, resolves to tell the tale with the innocent thoughts of his narrator who  suffers Aspergers syndrome. The authors study of the condition can be easily but superbly realised, and yet the book speaks of much more than just a disability. The writer used Christopher’s innocence to describe the lives of the people around him and how he affects them. Christopher sees everything, and remembers even more, but he cannot prioritise things. On the day of his mothers death, he record his scrabble score and the fact that the supper was spaghetti and tomato sauce. He does not seems callous as he can cope up with facts, with great detail; emotions confuse and alarm him.

People who are disabled are never easy subjects for authors as there is not much they show an interest in and have the least interaction with other people. Haddon ingeniously uses uber facts to continue up with the book, using math puzzles Christopher solves and his thought about God, he also includes his dream where everybody dies except people like him. The math puzzles do bore the reader, especially me but the story has many twist and turns to grasp the reader. As the narrator unwillingly gets into the murder case, he starts collecting facts relating to the death of the dog, he unwittingly pieces together a jigsaw revealing some of the darkest lies and evasions of his parents’ lives.

There is, of course, a great novelistic tradition of children as observers of the darker side of adult behaviour – What Maisie Knew , To Kill a Mockingbird . But The Curious Incident is no out-of-Eden fable. The pathos of Christopher’s condition is that he can never understand the havoc his very existence has wreaked in the lives of those around him, however many facts he uncovers. I don’t want to give the story away, but the scene in which he reads his mother’s letters is one of the most affecting things I’ve read in years.

The book deals up with a great amount of grief, sorrow as well as joyful moments. Christopher innocence can carve out a great reflection on the reader as it does on his parents. In the end when everything returns back to normal, we the readers find that the people around soon learn to cope up with the way the kid was as those concerned with his welfare have to learn to temper their emotional needs round his autistic inability to compromise.

This will not be a funny book,” says Christopher. “I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them.” But it is a funny book, as well as a sad one. Christopher’s compulsive noting of mundane facts provides comedy reminiscent to the book. “I do not like lies, and novels are only lies, that is why I will write no more than the truth, as I speak no lies.” Despite the fact that the book flows in a very mundane manner, it deals with both the kids and adults reading it in their own way. As a child it makes the reader understand of the tough part of relationships and love, which often disregard the most beautiful things in life, when as an adult it teaches about how every kid is special and one of a kind.

As about my thoughts, I loved the book in my very own way, yet I wonder what an autistic kid might think of the book, if he reads it. Well, I am pretty sure he would understand it in his own way too.

-Apoorv

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