Monday, January 20, 2014

The logic of emotional discovery

Book: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Author: Mark Haddon

Published: 2003 (Vintage)

Pages: 221 

FINALLY. I’ve been wanting and meaning and planning on reading this book for absolutely ages, and then I get a copy at the used book store and then it sits in my trunk and then in a box in my apartment for another couple of ages, and then one time at work one of my co-workers talked about listening to it on audiobook and told another co-worker she had gotten to the part where he finds out about his mom and wasn’t it so devastating?

I had no idea what she was talking about, but now I do, and yes. Yes it is.
This is about a boy with autism who finds a dead dog in the neighborhood where he lives with his dad because his dad said his mother died a few years ago. The boy’s investigation of the dead dog turns up family and neighborhood secrets that upset him because they butt up against his overruling logic and he doesn’t know how to deal with them if he can’t count colors of cars or fit into an exact timed schedule.

I kept forgetting the kid is fifteen, but that’s not the writer’s fault at all. I don’t really work with teenagers anymore and let’s face it, once one gets to college one actively tries to forget what it was like halfway through high school, so I kept thinking he was a genius eleven or twelve. He’s still a genius, and I love how that’s just incorporated into his everyday thinking since it’s always been there, and I love the juxtaposition between that and his emotional awareness, which is underplayed nicely because he’s not concerned with it until he suddenly has to use it to get through stuff.

Very captivating voice, very solid reveal that grownups should not be relied upon as the automatic moral guideposts, and very emotional payoff from a very logical place. Bookshelf!

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