Now, that title surely draws your attention, doesn’t it? When R, K’s friend referred to this book as something he has read for over 4 times and gifted to several people, I was just too curious myself ! What was it about the book that made it so popular? The title ?
I did not really ask him what it was all about because I just felt that it would be better if I get curious-er and curious-er and read it myself. R told me that he would give the book to me. But who has the patience? As soon as I saw it at the Popular store in Nex, Serangoon, hiding away under several books, I knew it was waiting for me to pick it up. Not bearing to look at it scream, “Read ME! read ME !”, I gave a beseeching look (the kinds that I have perfected when I want K to buy me something) to K. Whee hee ! I got it. These time-tested methods, I tell you!
And I read it in a couple of train journeys – flat !
R and I were discussing the cover and apparently, the publishers have changed the cover quite a few times – from an embossed dog to a proper dog to an inverted dog shadow and all ! Ya, I like details like that.
Written by Mark Haddon, this is a “mystery” novel. Now the reason I say “mystery” and not mystery is for you to know after you read. I am not spoiling it and be at the receiving end of your curses on a Monday morning.
This is a narrative in first person perspective. Christopher, aged 15 years thinks of himself as being very logical and loves mathematics for the same reasons. He wishes to write his A -level at this young age and wishes to get into a university. He describes himself as logical and having some behavioural difficulties. Though it is not really underlined, one can infer that Mark Haddon is referring to Asperger Syndrome/ High Functioning Autism (HFA). Christopher is likened to what some refer to as salvants ( people with islands of intelligence) in some research literature.
Christopher writes this story with a purpose. His neighbour, Mrs. Shears’ dog, Wellington, has been killed (forked) and Christopher’s ideal world is disrupted. He thrives on routine and predictability of events around him. Since he loves Sherlock Holmes (but not Arthur Conan Doyle) he decides to play sleuth and solve the mystery of who killed Wellington. But what follows is a revelation of sorts.
I loved the book. Mark Haddon does not make this a book on autism. Infact, he writes –
“…..if anything it’s a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way. The book is not specifically about any specific disorder.”
As someone who sees persons with autism on a daily basis, I could relate to certain events and underlying thinking processes on part of Christopher. Mark Haddon does not go overboard anywhere. Neither does he show Christopher as someone to be pitied upon. Infact, you just feel like you are reading a mini-Sherlock‘s life account. The way Christopher narrates it is unique and the importance he attaches to different events and observations is revealing!
Some lines I liked in the context of the book and post-it-ed as I read —
People say that you always have to tell the truth. But they do not mean this because you are not allowed to tell old people that they are old and you are not allowed to tell people if they smell funny or if a grown-up has made a fart. And you are not allowed to say “I don’t like you” unless that person has been horrible to you.
Stupid things are things like emptying a jar of peanut butter onto the table in the kitchen and making it level with a knife so it covers all the table right to the edges, or burning things on the gas stove to see what happened to them, like my shoes or silver foil or sugar.
It is permitted to move the chairs and the table in the kitchen because that is different, but it makes me feel dizzy and sick if someone has moved the sofa and the chairs around in the living room or the dining room. Mother used to do this when she did the hoovering, so I made a special plan of where all the furniture was meant to be and did measurements and I put everything back in its proper place afterward and then I felt better. But since Mother died Father hasn’t done any hoovering, so that is OK. And Mrs. Shears did the hoovering once but I did groaning and she shouted at Father and she never did it again.
This is not a metaphor, it is a simile, which means that it really did look like there were two very small mice hiding in his nostrils, and if you make a picture in your head of a man with two very small mice hiding in his nostrils, you will know what the police inspector looked like. And a simile is not a lie, unless it is a bad simile.
Also, towards the end, as an appendix, Christopher solves a mathematical problem – I loved it – the way it has been presented and the thought ! 🙂 I kept thinking whether they could make this into a movie at all. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t feel they can make a movie of THIS book – one cannot capture the thoughts and all of that in print and make it into a movie without losing a lot of essence. I can’t be too sure but I am a bit intrigued by it and am wondering how I would make this into a movie if that was what I was asked to do to save Earth !
And now, leaving you all with a small treat –
And oh! This one has more “quotes” than the ones I have mentioned above.
Hope you like reading this one – it is different and that’s what I liked about it !
Make an inspiring week, you wonderful folks! 🙂