Posts Tagged ‘Book’

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

“Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.”

-Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow Of The Wind

Wow, this book captivated me from the very beginning and did not disappoint. It is a unique story written in an equally unique way.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is a tale about a young autistic boy, Christopher Boone, who wants to channel his inner Sherlock Holmes and find the murderer of his neighbour’s beloved pet poodle. The story, completely told by Christopher, gives the reader a fascinating view of the autistic mind and introduced me to a narrator unlike any I’ve known before.  Although some are describing this as a detective story, it is hardly that and so much more.

Christopher is an endearing and likeable protagonist with characteristics and qualities that one should look up to. He has observations skills that would make a CIA agent envious, and can remember specific events and days from years past, while many of us can barely remember what we had for breakfast. He describes it as such: “My memory is like a film. That is why I am really good at remembering things, like the conversations I have written down I this book, and what people were wearing, and what they smelled like, because my memory has a smelltrack which is like a soundtrack.”

Despite his disability, I found myself relating to Christopher on many levels, and he lets the reader know that perhaps we are not that different at all.  Says Christopher: “everyone has learning difficulties because learning to speak French or understanding relativity is difficult and also everyone has special needs, like Father, who has to carry a little packet of artificial sweetening tablets around with him to put in his coffee”. His honesty and emotions are genuine and refreshing, as are his attempts to understand human nature and people, whom he tends to find “confusing”. It was enjoyable to read about this young man’s revealing coming of age story, but it was also heartbreaking at times, as he tried to overcome his own fears.

The book is an easy, quick read, but that only added to the effect that I was reading a book by a 15-year-old autistic boy, who lives on the notion of simplicity and logic – there is even diagrams and puzzles that Christopher uses to help him better understand. Haddon has done a great job at convincing the reader and although I am not too familiar with autistic behaviours, I am inclined to believe that his portrayal is quite accurate due to his real life experiences with the disorder – he’s worked closely with autistic children.

A couple of gripes: Although it was essential to get a better understanding of Christopher, there were far too many diagrams and puzzles within the book that interrupted with the flow of the story. Some were just not necessary in my opinion. Additionally, unrealistic parts of the story may require the reader to suspend belief and rationalization; you may find it preposterous that a young autistic boy is walking around with a Swiss army knife in his pocket, ready to use it against anyone that lays a finger on him.

No, it wasn’t perfect, but my criticisms are few and I recommend this one of a kind book to anyone and everyone. I guarantee you won’t soon forget about Christopher Boone.

4 out of 5