Oh, and how good it was! I don’t remember last time I enjoyed a book this much. It’s one emotional roller-coaster journey with Christopher, who sets upon solving what he calls a murder mystery about who killed a neighbour’s dog. He uncovers lots of mysteries of his own family in the process.
What turns this plot out of ordinary is the fact that Christopher is a special child. Interestingly the writer Mark Haddon does not use the diagnosis once in the novel of the symptoms he describes in his central character, that are of a child with developmental and behavioral syndrome called autism spectrum.
It would be interesting to see how a person who is not familiar with disorder reads the novel. I, for one, am coloured with my perception of the character based on an autistic child close to me.
I identified with Christopher because of that. That was one reason.
The novel is ‘significant’ and ‘interesting’ for several other reasons. It’s one book which is about a character who has a disability but this is not a book about the disability. But through the story of that boy the ingenuous author manages to tell so much about the disability that any other book set upon to do that would have failed to do so, so effectively. It makes you sad. It makes you happy. It makes you run entire gamut of emotions in its 250 odd pages. There is one character who is not a rounded character and that doesn’t take anything away from the novel. That is because he is not meant to be one. He is one flat character that is so loveable. By the middle of the book a reader knows how he is going to respond to things. That is the way he is “made”. But all credit to Mark Haddon, who weaves a story around him that is so very unpredictable. You get to know who killed the dog half way but there crops up many more mysteries and it keeps you guessing right till the end.
Christopher reminded me how I ‘hated’ maths. In fact, that’s what I thought earlier. I think actually I didn’t hate maths. I just wished away maths because of the way we were taught maths. Just take the case of prime numbers. I had heard of that but I didn’t know what that is. Nor did I care. Christopher showed me it was not only very simple to figure out but very interesting too.
Maths can be fun. At least it’s not that dreadful as I thought.
This is one of the discoveries I made after I read the novel.
Another was that facial expressions mean different things. Like Christopher is told by his teacher that raising one eyebrow can mean lots of different things. It can mean "I want to do sex with you" and it can also mean "I think that what you just said was very stupid". Sounds simple? Sort of. Simple in a funny way or exasperating, if you like it.
Christopher makes you realise the beauty of simple things like nothing can.
Like reading a book lying on your bed with left leg up, foot on the book shelf besides the bed, face tilted towards right with the support of a pillow bent from a corner to give slight elevation to the head.