The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

by Mark Haddon | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by BookGroupMan of Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on 11/3/2003
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, November 03, 2003
I really liked this; Mark Haddon (who I assume is a fully growed-up adult?) does a brilliant job of getting inside the head of a teenage boy suffering from Aspergers syndrome. The style of writing and the ‘geeky’ science/maths stuff might not appeal to everyone, but its deceptively perceptive and more wide-ranging that the specific condition suggests. Christopher Boone suffers like any teenager from feelings of confusion, the need for family/home stability, love & understanding, and to make sense of his world. The book is sympathetic, but never too schmaltzy. I’m not surprised that this won a Whitbread prize in ’03, but why the novel rather than children’s book? (maybe the swearing) IMHO I think MH does a better job than Michael Frayn’s Spies in seeing the world through a child’s eyes – coincidently another Whitbread winner.

Journal Entry 2 by BookGroupMan at on Monday, February 02, 2004
Released on Monday, February 02, 2004 at to another bookcrosser in n/a, n/a Controlled Releases.

Sent to Hey-Miki to start a small select UK bookring; from Miki to ChrisP93 and back to me, unless anyone else is interested...?

Journal Entry 3 by hey-miki from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Hooray, it arrived! I am itching to read this one cos I've heard such good things about it. (I even tried to track down a copy at various libraries but the waiting lists are horrendous.) Thanks BookGroupMan!

Journal Entry 4 by hey-miki from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 24, 2004
This is a wonderful book. Highly recommended! (In fact I've been recommending it all day to people at work who've spotted it on my desk here and asked about it)(3 of them so far!)
Its such a great idea for a book - and so brilliantly executed. Seeing things from the point of view of a boy with Aspergers is fascinating. I really enjoyed the mathematical diversions too!
I'm off to a meeting of a bookgroup this evening, to discuss this book. I shall report back with any new insights...

Journal Entry 5 by hey-miki from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Wow - the meeting was really interesting. Talking about the book made me realise how differently other people rated it and also really helped me get my thoughts in order. (Talking does that for me, but writing doesn't!)
I was suprised by a few people there who disliked the book. Criticisms were: weak storyline, irritating style, the maths was boring. Needless to say I strongly disagreed with all those points!

We discussed how we judged the other charcters. The parents come off pretty badly (as neglectful and abusive) whereas the teacher, Siobhan, is always patient and helpful. She's the reliable source of reason and stability in his life. Siobhan is also employed by the author as a useful device to justify things such as Christopher's strong writing skills, his choice of subject matter and his ability to compare his experiences with ours/others'. The lack of parent-teacher communication struck some people as unrealistic. (If thats the reality, then it's worrying!)

A huge asset of the book is how it gives an unparallelled insight into living with Aspergers Syndrome. (Though someone pointed out to me that "Aspergers" isnt actually mentioned in the book!) I valued how this was presented as an _alternative_reality_ rather than an abnormality. In chapter 229 (there arent 229+ chapters btw, they are just numbered unusually!) Christopher describes his dream of a perfect world: one in which all the people who "look at other people's faces" are dead and he and all the other "special people... who like being on their own" are free to do whatever they like. The book is crammed full of nuggets like this which help us to complete our mental tapestry of his character.

The book has a strong visual impact too. The sans-serif font is simple and unemotional, matching Christopher's writing voice. He only emboldens received words and phrases (ones which has has heard or read - such as titles, jokes, metaphors) - setting them apart from himself. The clean diagrams could have come out of a textbook. All this emphasises how we are receiving the story through *his* eyes. In fact we have our own "detecting" to do as we read - trying to unravel what relationship forces are at work, with only Christopher's reports (of what he considers relevant) to go on. One would think that this would make for an unemotional experience but its quite the opposite. It is moving, elightening and has some wonderful moments of humour too.

The book will be on its way back to BookGroupMan tomorrow. Thank you!!!

Journal Entry 6 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Friday, March 05, 2004
Thanks Miki, i've got a lovely warm feeling that you enjoyed this book so much, knowing I had a small part to play in it (oh, yes, and Mark Haddon did his bit as well!) Its already promised to someone in my book group - i'm going to try and get her to sign-up and write a journal. And btw thanks for the pressie, yes I do eat brown food, as long it doesn't touch any green food ;-)

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