The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
If you have not yet read this book …
Stop reading this post right now ….
And get the book, and read it!!!
OK, if you’re still reading this, it’s because you have already read the book …. or your car or computer or feet aren’t working so you can’t go get it now … or maybe you don’t quite yet believe me that you have to get this book and read it. Right now.
Trust me; you do.
Ten years ago, my then-husband came home from a trip to London with a book – “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” by Mark Haddon – and said, “I heard about this book on BBC, bought it, read it, and I can’t believe it ….. it’s like it was written by our ‘Jimmy’!”
I read the book in a day (it’s a quick read), and was floored.
The narrator in the book is an older boy (about my son’s age at the time) who has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is not my son’s particular issue, but if you add up enough SPD, OCD, ADD, ODD, PLI, etc., etc., etc., the jumble of letters spells out ITDOESNTMATTERIFITISANOFFICIALDIAGNOSIS, WHATMATTERSISTHEKIDANDTHEWAYHEREACTSTOTHEWORLD.
And the boy in this book reacted to the world, in so many ways, EXACTLY like my son did (and sometimes still does).
It was amazing to read … and it was (and is) an amazing book.
We thought about giving it to “Jimmy” to read, but we were concerned … the book starts out as a mystery that hinges around the fact that a dog has been killed … perhaps not the best kind of book for a supersupersupersensitive animal lover whose own pet is where he goes for solace when things get really bad.
Would the book be too upsetting to him? I decided to tell him that there was this great book for him to read, but that I did need to warn him that a pet dies in the beginning.
“Mom. It’s a book. It’s fiction.”
And he read the book … and loved it.
Fast forward to ten years later – i.e., this week. My mid-20-something daughter (older sib of “Jimmy the Issues Kid”) asked if I still had the book, because she had heard about it and wanted to read it. I dug it out in order to bring it to her … and had a day to re-read it first (remember, it’s a quick read!).
Yesterday afternoon I finished it as I took the train into the city to go have dinner with my daughter.
When I closed the book, just as the train was pulling into the last stop, I was bursting with so much emotion that I had tears on my face. And the biggest emotions in that mix were – Hope …. Happiness … Pride …. and … “It Really IS Going to be OK.”
So all I can say is ……
Read it!!!! (And post your reactions, comments, etc. below!)
Here are just a few sample quotes to give you a taste …
“I made the noise that Father calls groaning. I do this when there is too much information coming into my head from the outside world.”
“All the other children at my school are stupid. Except I’m not meant to call them stupid, even though this is what they are.”
“I said that I needed to keep my watch on because I needed to know exactly what time it was. And when they tried to take it off me I screamed, so they let me keep it on.”
“Siobhan says that if you raise one eyebrow it can means lots of different things. It can mean ‘I want to do sex with you’ and it can also mean ‘I think what you just said was very stupid.”
PS – Can’t wait to hear what my daughter thinks … especially since she has been reflecting a lot on how our family situation and make-up – the stresses we were under, and her position as an older sibling of an “issues Kid” – have affected her as an individual now.