Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003 book)
Author: Mark Haddon
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, YA
Rating: 4.5 stars
*This is not a review.* I’m aware that the CIDN is quite a controversial book in regards to ratings. Personally, I don’t care whether readers thought the book was ‘dumb’ or ‘annoying’, or that someone like me (who loved the book) is just trying to appeal to the fact that the book is told from the P.O.V. of a 15-year-old autistic child. Because that’s exactly why I loved the book.
I don’t think many authors could have pulled this off, because you can’t exactly write like an autistic person (or anyone with a mental illness) unless they have the disease, or at the very least closely connected with someone with the disorder.
The reason why this book touched me so much is because I met an autistic boy (though much younger) a few summers ago. I was the tutor, and he was my student (there were other students with mental disabilities too, but I was specially assigned for him). I was so befuddled by his behavior, but after a few weeks, I eventually grew fond of him. His name is Gonzalo. Though I’m not exactly sure what level or type of autism he has, many of Christopher’s symptoms and descriptions fit into Gonzalo. This made me reminisce back about my attempts to try to understand Gonzalo’s behavior, and it really helped me go “aah, I see“.
Autism wasn’t really ‘known’ a few decades ago, much less speculated. But now, more and more people are being (correctly) diagnosed with autism (and other forms of disabilities) which enables the individual and his family to have a sense of closure about his mental and emotional state.
My question is, because no one can know what’s going on inside an autistic person, what would you do if you found out someone close to you had autism? What would you do if you had been Christopher’s father, mother, sibling, friend, or even a neighbor? Would you go ahead and have the child, love your sibling, befriend him and treat him amiable regardless of how much extra effort you have to put into that person?
If you can’t really picture the behavior of an autistic person, I suggest you read the CIDN first. Personally, if it had been a family member, the impact and change that it would have had in my life would be immense. But I would still love him/her still the same. I don’t know if I would have the patience and tenderness to care for someone with such a different perception of the world. I just know that meeting Gonzalo has made me even more aware and interested in mental disabilities.