8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

by Mark Haddon

I happened to be finishing this one up when Meezly posted her quick review of it. I have to say, despite this being well written in a mechanical sense (easy, smooth flowing narrative... like talking) I have two major problems that force me to give it a cold review.

First, for some reason I never trusted that the author's representation of the mental processes of autistic people was accurate. Why wouldn't I? I don't know. I am usually willing to give any author the benefit of the doubt. But there is something about this one that had me skeptical all the way through. In fact, after a while I felt like the whole thing was bullshit. It's not fair, though, to call a book bullshit when I can't back it up with concrete examples of said bullshit. And yet I am compelled to do so. I can't pinpoint why.

The larger problem I had with the book has to do with character. I think this book is a good example of how unrewarding a book can be when the protagonist undergoes little or no growth over the course of time. This character doesn't change. That is until the seemingly forced sense of confidence in the very last lines:

And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? and I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything.

Really? Sadly, after getting to know this fellow's limitations (just as we all have our limitations), the reader is left with the knowledge that he is very wrong about his ability to do anything.

Sorry, this novel has turned me off like few have of late.

1 comment:

dsgran said...

heh. i don't know that an apology is necessicary - but i'm sorry you didn't like the book. interestingly, i agree with your points in general, but what made this book interesting for me was the uniqueness of reading *into* an entire book -in other words, what the author is saying is never exactly what is actually happening.

Oh well! good review!