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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


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My main problem is that I just could not stand the narrator. If Christopher is supposed to make me sympathetic to people with that condition then I am afraid the author failed miserably. (note this a criticism of Mark Haddon, not people with Asperger's). If a reader can't get past this central flaw in a first-person novel that it's pretty much over with.

 

Interesting. I don't think Haddon was intending to portray Christopher as likeable and sympathetic, and therefore cannot be said to have failed at something he didn't attempt. To have done so would have been dishonest and the character would then have been unrecognisable to those who know people with Asperger's. The most common word used by them is 'annoying'; people with Asperger's are mostly, to so-called 'normal' people, very hard work, relentless, obsessive. Yet deserving of our sympathy while not being entirely sympathetic, if that makes sense. I think Haddon wanted us to try and understand Christopher; he of course would be incapable of returning the compliment.

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Interesting. I don't think Haddon was intending to portray Christopher as likeable and sympathetic, and therefore cannot be said to have failed at something he didn't attempt. To have done so would have been dishonest and the character would then have been unrecognisable to those who know people with Asperger's. The most common word used by them is 'annoying'; people with Asperger's are mostly, to so-called 'normal' people, very hard work, relentless, obsessive. Yet deserving of our sympathy while not being entirely sympathetic, if that makes sense. I think Haddon wanted us to try and understand Christopher; he of course would be incapable of returning the compliment.

 

I agree with that the author wasn't trying to make Christopher a pleasant person, just trying to potray a person with Asperger's Syndrome. He succeeded in that aim, but I felt it made the book unreadable. He was so annoying I wanted to throw the book across the room. Wow! The author made me empathise with someone who has a relative with AS. Big woop.

 

I did sympathise with the father character. He came across well as the parent who had to put up with him.

 

Still have to say though, Christopher made the book unreadable (for me, anyway). My review: "Christopher: Shut up."

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  • 2 weeks later...

I must admit, this is a very thought-provoking and excellently written book. So much so that I've just read the whole thing in around 2 hours. Amazingly good. I'm going to read a bit of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves stories next and then onto Dan Brown's Digital Fortress. I'm also very pleased to have found this site, as I've looked for many others on the web, and not had much success.

Regards,

ThePotato

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Looks like Mark Haddon's been reading Martyn Bedford's Acts of Revision:

 

A sympathetic narrator with emotional difficulties due to the death of a parent, an insight into a person's psychological problems, the core story being a schoolboy battling his inner demons and the problems he had at school, the book told in the style of the troubled boy at heart (though Gregory is 35 years of age, he is little older mentally than the narrator of TCI).

 

Now that is a book I can recommend. It's many orders of magnitude better than The Curious Dog... And I actually cared about Gregory.

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Interesting that this book has provoked a number of extreme reactions. I read it, I quite enjoyed it... but that was it. It was OK. I didn't feel strongly about it. The explanation of how to work out prime numbers was interesting - although it had also appeared in Stephen King's Dark Tower (volume 3 or 4). If I had ever learnt that at school, I had forgotten it along the way! I didn't really like any of the characters - but I didn't dislike them either.

 

Thinking about it now, I realise that Christopher reminds me of Adrian Mole.

 

Good for rweading on the train, but a bit shallow.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have never liked this book. I understand he has a disease and al and can't help it, but i really want to smack him. Not that I'm a violent person! But he just annoys me so much! A friend (Not so much a friend, as someone I am forced to be friends with by parents, as she has none) has this disease, and I know she can't help being mean and annoying but it still annoys me. I don't think i should ever work in helping mentally ill people.

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Little Britain; Aspergers Syndrome is neither a 'disease', nor a 'mental illness'.

 

Do some research, open your mind to the possibility of lives other than the one you live being of value!

 

Try approach this enforced relationship with the attitude of 'how can my friendship benefit this girl?' rather than 'I get nothing out of this'

 

Sorry about ranting at you, but, once again I find myself incensed by your unsympathetic attitude, and would like to 'smack' you.

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hey, I'm not saying i haven't ever tried!!! Everytime I see her I make an effort to be nice, and she throws it back in my face. And I know that she can't help it, but it doesn't make me like her anymore. Even if she has horrible to me (which she is) i put up with it, I don't ever yell at her or tell her to **** off or anything. It's not like I'm NOT making an effort.

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In LittleBritain's defence, we are nice to this girl, no matter how rude/mean she is to us, and are patient with her, and do our best to let her try and enjoy the time she spends with us, but she does get incredibly annoying. We're never rude to her, no matter how rude she is to us. If you're going out of your way to let her have a good time and shes just rude and throws it back in your face, it can get very unencouraging and not make you want to let her enjoy herself, but I know she can't help it, and I know she probably does enjoy her time with us but doesn't show it in the same way as most people would, yet I find it hard to not see her as annoying and rude.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just to add, my son has Aspergers' (as well as ADHD & epilepsy), and he THOROUGHLY loved the book, as did I.

 

When I asked him what he particularly liked about it:

 

1. He said that he felt Christopher gave him 'a voice', in that it was someone he could relate to, and he felt good that 'non-Aspies' would be reading it to.

2. He also said that it was an honest portrait of family life, not 'Disneyish'.

 

 

I felt that Christopher was a well drawn character, with a realistic 'voice', though I take the points previously mentioned about savants and high standards with Maths being very rare (my son has neither, but he can build a PC, and wire up a radio from base components).He tends to struggle with reading, so we took each chapter in turn! Have now bought him the book on CD, so he can hear it over and over. Incidentally, the boy who reads it on the CD is superb (soory, can't remember his name).

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I thought this book was really good. I was advised to read it when I started a placement working with people who have autism and aspergers syndrome. It really helped to give me an insight into what it is like for the guys I was working with and why they did the things they did. If I had read an academic book I don't think I would have found it as useful.

Kate

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I throughly enjoyed this book. Reading other people's views on this was very refreshing! I used to work with autistic children as did my mum which may explain why I could relate to Christopher. Annoying is definately one of the words I have heard used time and time again, and I think is accurate. But this did not make me dislike the book.

 

Two thumbs up from me :)

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It's been a while since I read Curious Incident. I liked it but wasn't dazzled by it.

 

I remember at the time wondering if there was any significance in the maths; whether perhaps we were supposed to play around with all the different puzzles to complete an uber-puzzle. I didn't spend any time on this myself but it would have been a clever inclusion, I think; a way of helping the reader identify further with Christopher. Any mathematicians out there?

 

Rebecca

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  • 2 weeks later...

As it says on the jacket of my copy, this was a stunningly good read. I found Christopher a bit maddening and at one point I even had to skip a little to keep from going beserk. And I could see where the plot was going before Christopher could. But that doesn't lessen the value of the book; I think it actually enhances it. What Mark Haddon has given us is an engagingly different way to develop a character and a story. I didn't have to like Christopher to feel for him. I think Haddon's character descriptions are a little like Impressionist painting. In an oblique way he manages to paint several very convincing (they don't have to be likeable) portraits.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I heard Mark Haddon interviewed on Radio 4. He said that he wanted to write a ‘whodunnit’ novel based purely on logic and found Aspergers Syndrome as an appropriate vehicle for this.

His background is in Mathematics and he saw similarities between Aspergers and the logical thought needed for mathematics. He quipped that he and his colleagues probably had Aspergers without knowing it.

I teach teenagers with Aspergers; all have unique personalities like the rest of us. I also know some very academic mathematicians, most of them colourful characters. However, both groups work from logic and can be single-minded either because they cannot interpret or because they can ignore social cues that distract.

Mark Haddon did what he set out to do. He solved his mystery through logic, kept the book light (no deep social encumbrances), and was not judgemental.

 

He tried to open our minds to another way of thinking - logically.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My nephew has Aspergers and for the most part he is a cheerful little boy. He did have an obsession with Thomas the Tank engine books/videos/anything for a while, but his parents have gradually managed to wean him away from this to a more suitable obsession for his age.

 

He's nine and now is obsessed with football in general and Arsenal in particular. However he does get upset if they lose. He has trouble dealing with events happening in a way he doesn't like and that is the challenge for his family.

 

He has the most ear piercing scream, that sounds as though someone is killing him, when in actual fact his mother has probably just asked him to do something he doesn't want to do.

 

My father, my nephews grandfather, recently read 'The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night' in an effort to try to understand his grandson, but he still finds the screaming hard to take.

 

I have every admiration for my sister and her husband and daughter who live with this every day. The more so because my sister also has had to cope with her own diabetes and epilepsy since she was eight, learning to inject herself several times a day, take numerous epilepsy tablets and give up sweets, even when a bag was offered to her in the playground. It is a challenge I don't think I would have coped with anywhere near as well as she has.

 

It is understandable that people can find my nephew annoying, especially those who don't know why he is that way. We all find someone annoying whether they are too loud, too quiet, too bossy or if they always have to be the best at something. It is not wrong to feel that way, it is only wrong to hurt someone - verbally or physically because of it. How we deal with people we have a problem with is a part of life, when it is bad, trying to remove yourself from their immediate vicinity is one way of coping, however this is not always possible. We each have to find our own way of coping in a situation like this.

 

Sorry if this sounds preachy, didn't mean to be, just could see both sides of the issue.

 

~ sunny

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  • 1 year later...

Rescued Posts:

 

--------------------------------------------------14th December 2005, 07:24 PM

 

Cathy

Subscriber and Permanent Resident

 

Just to add, my son has Aspergers' (as well as ADHD & epilepsy), and he THOROUGHLY loved the book, as did I.

 

When I asked him what he particularly liked about it:

 

1. He said that he felt Christopher gave him 'a voice', in that it was someone he could relate to, and he felt good that 'non-Aspies' would be reading it to.

2. He also said that it was an honest portrait of family life, not 'Disneyish'.

 

 

I felt that Christopher was a well drawn character, with a realistic 'voice', though I take the points previously mentioned about savants and high standards with Maths being very rare (my son has neither, but he can build a PC, and wire up a radio from base components).He tends to struggle with reading, so we took each chapter in turn! Have now bought him the book on CD, so he can hear it over and over. Incidentally, the boy who reads it on the CD is superb (soory, can't remember his name).

 

I liked the portrayal of the family too, I loved that the father did what he did clearly out of love but still got it wrong, which is so often the way! I wonder if part of the appeal is also not just that Christopher has asperges but that its a child's perspective trying to make sense of adult things so surely we can all relate to that on some level? I've never known anyone with the condition so will steer clear of commenting on how accurate the portrayal is but I just kind of accepted he didn't like yellow things etc. as I know what its like to have little irrational obsessionalities. I must confess I usually skipped the maths parts, much to hard for me. I'd gove it a thumbs up, I rattled through it in about 3 days!

 

--------------------------------------------------5th June 2006, 10:27 PM

 

ange

Member

 

I have a friend who has a son with Asperger's syndrome, so this was really recommended to me by her. It gave me an insight into how these children see things. Christopher looked at things logically and saw things as they should be not necessarily as they are. The mathematics angle drove me mad, but I just skimmed past that bit.

It is an amazing book which really helped me to understand how Christophers mind works, and so therefore helped me understand my friends son, especially his behaviour and why he does what he does and the reason for it.

 

-------------------------------------------------10th September 2006, 04:44 PM

 

supersexy007

Resident

 

I absolutely loved this book! It was recommended to me by a work colleague so I borrowed it from him and really enjoyed it. It wasn't a challenging read but it was thought provoking and gave me an insight into a subject I previously knew very little about. I have since borrowed several other books from said colleague!!

 

-------------------------------------------------11th September 2006, 09:02 PM

 

katrina

Permanent Resident

 

I found it a real insight, and I'm now teaching a child with Autism and one with Aspergers. I think this book gave me more of an emotional understanding than I got from any of the educational books I read on the subject. I'm looking forward to explaining similies and metaphors!

 

-------------------------------------------------Yesterday, 03:10 PM

 

Opal

Subscriber and Founder Member

 

Bit behind everyone else, but I only just found this book. I was looking for something different to read, and asked my housemates for ideas. They're all trainee english teachers, and this was the least annoying looking book I could find! I actually really liked it. It's been a while since I've read any children's books, but I got back into the "easy to read" style very quickly!

 

I skimmed through the previous comments in the thread, and liked what angel said about how the mathematician writer said that he (and colleagues) could have Aspergers without realising! (Yes, that's an awful sentence, but you know what I mean!!!)

 

Anyway, just wanted to add about liking the book, maybe I'll find it easier to get back into children's literature now...

 

-------------------------------------------------Yesterday, 03:19 PM

 

Stokos

Subscriber

 

Dan Brown's Digital Fortress.

 

 

Sooooooooo dont bother.

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  • 9 months later...

I thought this book was a really interesting read, as I know a couple of people with Asperger's (my cousin has a mild form of it). Christopher was irritating, but I guess Asperger's Syndrome people can be. I thought it showed how hard it can be for parents with a kid with the condition to cope.

The prize behind one of 3 doors probability thing completely lost me, but I'm beyond useless at Maths, so it didn't completely put me off, I just skimmed through it!

I'd like to read Haddon's other book, will have to check out the thread for it later.

And to whoever said they were going to read a Dan Brown 'novel', please spare yourself the pain... Just don't!

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  • 2 months later...

I read this book for my PG Cert as I was studying how to write children's lit & I really disliked it!

I have worked with children with different severities of ASD for the last 5 years and although those children have been at the route of much frustration I have never found them to be that annoying!

Perhaps I disliked it because I feel reading should be an escapism and this just reminded me of work! Or perhaps it is simply my experience of working with real children with ASD, seeing them with all their faults, vulnerabilities and amazing qualities that has spoilt it for me... I just really didn't care about this story or the characters.

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