“Haddon is to be congratulated for imagining a new kind of hero, for the humbling instruction this warm and often funny novel offers and for showing that the best lives are lived where difference is cherished.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

This highly praised book about a short period in the life of a 15 year old boy who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, Christopher Boone, who finds a dead dog in the front garden of a neighbour’s house. This sends the boy on an investigation to find out who killed the dog where he goes on a trip of life of fear that includes getting arrested for assaulting a police officer, a journey to London by train as well as the underground system.

Always at the back of his mind he has the thought that he is due to take his A level maths exam, and that is the most important thing in his life, apart from finding out who the murderer is.  He learns as much about how different he is, along with how members of general public treat such people simply because they do not understand the condition the boy has.

After reading so many positive reviews of this books, when I saw in a charity shop I decided to go for it, after all, if I didn’t get on with it, it could go back to a charity shop. So then, how did I get with it? Well, I finished it, but there were times when nearly gave up on it. The problem for me was, just as with most members of the public, is that I know nothing about Asperger’s, therefore I reacted to the story line because of it.

The whole story is written in what may well be the same way a real patient might write it. It takes the form of a book of his adventures, suggested by one of his teachers at school. The result is that it is laid out in a way that it hoped such a young man might write. Being a writer and avid reader the whole thing grated o my ideas as to how w book should be written and set out. Add in the appalling  font it was printed in, and it all adds up to, at best was poor writing, and at worst, bloody awful!

And that is where the genius of this book lies. It lays Christopher open to all sorts of judgement calls and the comments and reactions from those judgements. These judgements come not just from the characters in the book, but also form the reader. I found myself thinking, What a prat, in more than one place. My patience level is pretty low at the best of times, and it was tested a number of times as I read. But there is one element that did do fly-bys …

The key to the fly-bys is the hope of A grades in his A level maths exam. I look at an equation and my eyes gloss over and mind goes blank. So, when Christopher goes into one of his math-thinking-mode, I left it alone and skipped it. Hopefully other readers were able to follow it though …

So what are my thoughts this little number? I’m pleased I managed to finish it, however, I’m not sure I would like to try similar book. For me I suppose the lesson of it is to be more patient when I see the sort of person that Christopher portrays. But is that really feasible in this day and age where 15 year olds are drunks or junkies and may act the same anyway. Oh dear, no wonder Christopher had such a hard time on his own … … …

 

Reviewed by:

Ron Clark

Added 12th March 2017

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Ron Clark

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