Monday, May 1, 2017

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

Curious Incident is a book, and now a play about a teenager named Christopher. Facts:
1) Mark Haddon is a novelist.
2) Mark Haddon does not have autism.
3) Mark Haddon was never a special education teacher.
4) Mark Haddon did not know anyone with autism well.
5) Mark Haddon did not research autism.
6) Mark Haddon didn't think of Christopher as having autism.
For some reason, Haddon misconceptions abound. A friend told me
#2 last night. Many people pushed this book at me and I read it
when first out, a very long time ago now. The misconceptions above shaped my reaction, which was - Christopher does not have autism. Now that I know the author agrees, I value this work of imagination more highly.
You may ask, as I ask, since autism is different in each individual, why do I feel so strongly that Christopher is not on the spectrum?
Basically, I don't recognize Christopher's blend of behaviors and analytical view of the world. Trouble with metaphors? Very usual. In depth analysis of said trouble? Highly un.
Yet whether you, like many, do find this a recognizable portrait of the gifts and challenges of autism, or like me, question it, the book remains a powerful example of what Haddon professedly wanted to show - an outsider struggling with the norms of a world he finds an uncomfortable place.
However you experience the central character, I think the book is a worthwhile read with many insights.
Next week, the play. 
*Source: and his biography on this website.


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