Sunday, September 9, 2012

“The Curious Incident…” a kids’ book through and through

 A family drama centering on a 15-year old kid with Asperger’s syndrome — think math whiz with tons of behavioral issues. Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, while amusing was not that remarkable for me. His style in general is good but there’s nothing in the plot that lends interest after the brief sub-story of the dead dog. I want to be disappointed, but it’s a children’s book after all.

 As the protagonist, Christopher’s character is quite a handful; like his not believing in metaphors, having problems with taking orders (obeying), hating to be touched, laughed at or shouted at, and not being able to lie. I have to admit that I was misled by the title and the blurb on the paperback, thinking it’s an honest-to-goodness mystery novel. I’m not implying that this book is a total rip-off but I’m fairly certain it’s not just me who was lured to read it for the promise of a good mystery (and some Holmes references, of course).

Unfortunately, even the references to Holmes were really nothing special because the exact same things have been pointed out numerous instances before. Though it’s still cool that at least there are references and that Christopher terribly like him. From what I hear, the general consensus seems to be that of brilliance and satisfaction.

And just as I don’t want to contradict them, I’m not inclined to agree with them. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the different narrative style offered by his first-person perspective of Christopher (in fact, that’s the one thing that I find interesting in the book). Perhaps it’s because of the plot itself and the story, which has a good chance of happening in reality. Arriving at the last page, I wasn’t really that satisfied.

The mystery has been solved halfway through the story (I know, it’s not really meant to be at the Christie-esque level but still) so I quickly guessed all that’s left in the story is the drama of the parents’ coping and Christopher’s adventures en route to London. Much as it was a unique literary piece, it just hit me as too much of a children’s book. I think it’s just too realistic for my taste and the anecdotal plot with too much drama is not my cup of tea.

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