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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Rating: 9)

I just finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon.

It is a remarkable story—a phrase which here means "definitely worth reading for the times in the future when you will look back fondly upon the time spent with this book".

It is the story of a fifteen year old autistic boy in England, named Christopher Boone, who finds the dead body of Wellington (his neighbor's dog) in his neighbor's yard.

After initially being questioned for the dog's murder, Christopher decides that he will, like his hero Sherlock Holmes, investigate the crime and identify the murderer.

Along the way to solving the mystery, Christopher stumbles upon other mysteries, significantly more personal and closer to home, and finds himself making his way, alone, on a journey to London.

I don't know what I thought I knew about autism before reading this book (and, honestly, I probably tried not to think about it at all). I really did not know too much about it though (and unless you need to know about it I'd guess most people choose not to).

But I will say that I really was surprised by how smart Christopher is. And brave—and by saying this I'm talking specifically about Christopher's character, Christopher's fears, and how he takes this journey to London in spite of these fears.

(It is possible, I suppose, that Christopher's fears are typical for an autistic, but I am, as I said, quite ignorant about it.)

And, I will be doing some research, purely for self-edification, into this condition.

Oh yes, and if you like remarkable stories (as I define the phrase above) then I would be remiss—a word which here means "falling down on the job of recommending the best reading material that the whole-wide-world of books has to offer"—in failing to suggest that you read Audrey Niffenegger's remarkable novel, The Time Traveler's Wife.

This is another of those books that I often look back on reading with great fondness in the year and a half since I read it.

It makes me very glad that I occasionally read books chosen for my wife's book club—as both of these were!


Lis said...

The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favourites as well. That reminds me, it's due for a re-read.