Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

At my friend Carolyn's house, she shared her recent reading and mentioned a book with a funny title about a dog in the night or some such wording. Soon after I returned home, my friend Pat said I needed to read this book with a strange title and it was in our Crab Orchard library. The book is about a child whose brain has an unnamed difference from most of us.

I mentioned it to Mary Ellen and she laughed and said she had the book and had told me about it. I knew she had when I read the book--because I remember our long discussion trying to figure out what a prime number was. I have read the book and still cannot tell you. I just finished it this afternoon.

Although no one knows what is inside another human being's brain cells, author Mark Haddon may (or may not) be fairly accurate in describing the thought processes of his fictional character--young Christopher Boone, who sets out to discover who murdered a neighbor's dog. Haddon now teaches creative writing for the Arvon Foundation and lives in Oxford, England. As a young man, he worked with (taught??) autistic individuals. My friends said Christopher was autistic or perhaps had Asperger's Syndrone, and the librarian said someone told her the book was about a savant. It is a captivating story and the adjectives on the fly leaf include: brilliant, moving, amazing, superb achievement, bleakly funny, heartbreaking, observant, clever, suspenseful." One reviewer compared him to Oliver Sacks, and Oliver Sacks called the book "very plausible."

The diversity of human life is astounding and confusing and disturbing. And rewarding. And the adujustment people make who need to adjust to such diversity is heroic. Thank you, Mark Haddon.

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