Posts tagged Mark Haddon
Posts tagged Mark Haddon
Halfway through the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, the mystery of who killed Wellington (the dog) gets solved. That is when the story begins seriously. The story of a fifteen year old special human, Christopher Boone, who has a logical brain but cannot understand human emotions. The book is of course not about the murder mystery of the dog. It is about truth, honesty and trust (or the lack there of) and how an autistic person and the people around him are able to come to terms with these values. At the end, Christopher is more optimistic about his life than most around him, about theirs.
A book that is at once fun and poignant, factual and matter of fact, creative and touching, all packed within 250 pages. Along the way we get to read remarkably simple explanations about the Big Bang to the theory of evolution, from an application of Bayes conditional probability theorem in the Monty Hall problem to why Eskimos are not prone to heart attack because they eat more fish, from Olber’s paradox to periodic functions to chaos theory. All in chapters serialized in ascending prime numbers (Christopher remembers them up to 7057). Not to forget, an appendix that gives the complete proof for the question “A triangle with sides that can be written in the form n2 + 1, n2 - 1, 2n where n > 1 is right angled. Prove by means of a counter example that the converse is false.” (read about Pythagorean triple).
In the book, Christopher lists what are termed as his behavioral problems - the reasons for which he is primarily seen as “autistic”.
A. not talking to people for a long time B. not eating or drinking anything for a long time C. not liking being touched D. screaming when I am angry or confused E. not liking in being in really small places with other people F. smashing things when I am really angry or confused G. groaning H. not liking yellow things or brown things and refusing to touch yellow things or brown things I. refusing to use my toothbrush if anyone else has touched it J. not eating food if different sorts of food are touching each other K. not noticing that people are angry with me L. not smiling M. saying things that other people think are rude N. doing stupid things O. hitting other people P. hating France Q. driving mother’s car R. getting cross when someone has moved the furniture
But for a few of the above (like H, O, P, Q) I have had all the above traits when I was young. I sill retain many of them. And I have some more. Only, I have learned to curb most of them in public. There is an innocuous passage in the book that goes
All the other children at my school are stupid. Except, I am not meant to call them stupid, even though this is what they are. I am meant to say that they have learning difficulties or that they have special needs. But this is stupid because 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 to stop him from getting fat, or Mrs. Peters who ears a beige colored hearing-aid, or Siobhan, who has glasses so thick that they give you a headache if you borrow them, and none of these people are Special Needs, even if they have special needs.
The book never uses the word autism to describe Christopher’s condition. Because Christopher Boone is just a special human. Like any of us.
Book: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Author: Mark Haddon [an interview link]
Year Published: 2003