AUTHOR – MARK HADDON
PUBLISHED IN – 2003
PAGES – 272
I shall begin by telling you why I thought that this book was amazing. The book is pretty simple and there’s hardly any plot or story that one would call as interesting and yet, this book had me hooked the moment I read the first line ( which was in this case, “It was 7 minutes after midnight“). The major theme was that the 15 year old narrator had Asperger’s syndrome. Ripping the definition off the internet (Wikipedia), “Asperger’s syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s, is a neuro developmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. As a milder autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it differs from other ASDs by relatively normal language and intelligence. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and unusual use of language are common.”
It was a well written book. Mark captured the thought process of an individual with AS and portrayed it in a simple way such that a reader that almost feel what the said individual has to go through on a regular basis. Since the book was written entirely from Christopher’s POV as a narrator with AS, one can easily understand the stark difference between a regular 15 year old teen and Christopher. It was heartbreaking and sad and often funny at times. And not only the reader is able to grasp the reality of Christopher’s mind but he/she can also see how the parents have tried to adjust. I really liked his father. Despite his flaws, he was trying to be as patient as possible with his son whom he loved so much. Obviously, having a child with special needs is very difficult and there’s no right way of parenting either. I wasn’t a huge fan of his mother although I am still not sure whether or not I liked her decision to leave both her husband and Christopher and go off with another lover. She loved Christopher alright but she didn’t have the patience to handle him and would often lose her cool. Was it okay for her to leave then? It does make her a quitter, no doubt. Imagine if you see your kid doing great with your spouse and you make things worse for them but you know that you can be happier elsewhere by being a little selfish and leaving your family, would it be alright to leave?
I liked Christopher. I really really did. He loved Mathematics and Physics because they were logical and made sense while people were weird and often difficult to understand. People didn’t necessary follow logic in their actions. I loved how his logical little mind made me laugh out at times. Like, for example:
And here are a few lines that I enjoyed reading:
I think people believe in heaven because they don’t like the idea of dying, because they want to carry on living and they don’t like the idea that other people will move into their house and put their things into the rubbish.
And when the universe has finished exploding all the stars will slow down, like a ball that has been thrown into the air, and they will come to a halt and they will all begin to fall towards the centre of the universe again. And then there will be nothing to stop us seeing all the stars in the world because they will all be moving towards us, gradually faster and faster, and we will know that the world is going to end soon because when we look up into the sky at night there will be no darkness, just the blazing light of billions and billions of stars, all falling.
And because there is something they can’t see people think it has to be special, because people always think there is something special about what they can’t see, like the dark side of the moon, or the other side of a black hole, or in the dark when they wake up at night and they’re scared.
I saved my favorite for the last one:
On the fifth day, which was a Sunday, it rained very hard. I like it when it rains hard. It sounds like white noise everywhere, which is like silence but not empty.
Reading this book reminded me of a series that I used to watch: The Good Doctor. Only the first season had come out at that time and I had loved it. The main protagonist is a doctor with Asperger’s syndrome and series goes on about his struggles in the medicine field when he has to deal with other people as well. It’s a really good show if one is interested in AS or medical dramas.