Just the other day for book club I read “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time” by Mark Haddon. For anyone who hasn’t heard of it the plot is simple. Christopher Boone is a 15 year old Autistic/Aspergers boy who one night finds his friend the neighbours dog killed rather viciously with a garden fork. Christopher decides to investigate and find out who and why the dog was killed primarily because he is concerned for his own safety as evidently there is a killer living among the people in his street. Along the way he uncovers family secrets and discovers he’s vastly more capable of looking after himself and his pet rat Toby than anyone ever thought possible.
I was 50/50 on how I felt about reading this book. Part of me was really curious about if the author (Mark Haddon) had actually managed to capture how people with Autism/Aspergers interpret information and survive in a world we often find overwhelming. The other part of me was rolling my eyes going “here we go again someone who’s done virtually zero research on Autism/Aspergers has written a book and it’s going to be same old same old portrayal of Autism/Aspergers with rages, no ability to communicate and he’ll make the character look like his intellectually challenged”.
I still have mixed feelings about the book:
The Good – it honestly captured the feeling of being overwhelmed by to much information when attempting to travel somewhere you’ve never been. His description of the London Underground could have been copy/pasted from my 2014/2015 diaries from when I visited my lil sis in London. He also captured the whole issue of food problems (food not touching, food texture problems etc) as well as the obsession with time and not missing set appointments.
The Bad – His portrayal 0f Autism/Aspergers was so atypical. The character is Male, white, rocks back/forth moaning, has uncontrollable rages, is obsessed with maths, is required to attend “special school”, is unable to be hugged/touched without flying off the handle into a rage and totally lacks the ability to understand humour.
Over all a simple book to read. It could be read by children, young adults and adults without much difficulty. I would recommend it to anyone who has family/friends/classmates on the Autism Spectrum Disorder to get a basic understanding of how Autism/Aspergers effects the brains ability to filter out unnecessary stimulus and thus why we sometimes need space/quiet to hit our internal Ctrl+Alt+Del buttons and reset our brains.