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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
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Comments for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: 04/29/05

My friend in Wales recommended this book to me. I hadn't planned on reading it but when a book comes so highly recommended by a friend or relative, I often decide to give it a go. I'm glad I did. It wasn't at all like I expected. It most reminded me of the Georgia Nicholson series which starts with Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging. They are similar in their first person diary form, their playful and juvenile use of language (both main characters are teens) and their frequent tangents and asides.

Whereas Georgia (created by Louise Rennison) is a teenage girl going to a fairly typical sounding British school, Christopher is a teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome, attending a more specialized school. From how he describes the other students, he seems out of place at the school. If Mark Haddon had never mentioned Asperger's in the book, Christopher would have come off as a fairly typical geeky teenage boy. He seems so much like the vast majority of the boys I knew in junior and senior high school that I found his diagnosis hard to believe. I guess that's part of growing up in a time when there were far fewer diagnoses and doctors were far more conservative in passing that sort of judgment on a child's development. Either most of my childhood friends were undiagnosed or kids today are being over diagnosed.

Then there are Christopher's parents. They use his Asperger's syndrome as an unspoken excuse to treat him quite poorly. Both parents have tempers (who doesn't) but rather than trying to work things out as a family, they write off Christopher as "impossible" and never bother to check their own behavior. Yell at a person, and they will yell back. Create a stressful environment and they will act strange. The wee bit of back story Haddon gives us through Christopher's narrative gives no hint of his parents trying to teach Christopher how to cope in situations where people violate his comfort zone. They leave it to Siobhan, his counselor, to do all of the dirty work. No child can learn to function in society with only one mentor!

Read the reviews at Maw Books, 1morechapter, Dog Ear Diary.

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