Wow, this was one of the most intriguing little books I've ever read. I'm not saying it was fabulous and everyone needs to rush out and get it. I canWow, this was one of the most intriguing little books I've ever read. I'm not saying it was fabulous and everyone needs to rush out and get it. I can actually only think of a couple people to whom I would recommend this read.
Christopher Boone is an autistic (though that is never outright mentioned) teenager who discovers a dead dog in his neighbor's yard and deduces that he is to solve the mystery of who killed the dog. He is completely void of all emotion, so as Mark Haddon is writing this story, it is extremely matter-of-fact. Just the facts.
The reader is left filling in the gaps and understanding what is truly happening here. I've never read a story written like this, with a protagonist quite like Christopher.
Christopher narrates this story as he's writing his "book", so we get the feel we are reading his journal, or his book, and he includes illustrations, math problems, charts, and tables and footnotes that he uses to explain whatever point he's trying to make.
Think of it as teenage Rainman writing a book, or you got ahold of one of his notebooks. "Squeezed and pulled and hurt my neck in 1988. I'm an excellent driver." He's brilliant. But how exactly does someone with that level of brilliance, and grasp on numbers and facts fit into this society of emotions, not saying what we mean, and everything that makes up humanity?
A warning, I don't usually notice profanity in books. Every now and then something jumps out at me, and it's usually if it's in stark contrast to the situation, like a child screaming profanity, or a nun, or someone who you wouldn't normally associate that kind of language with. Christopher is not profane, but the people around him are. He does not understand what those words mean, so as he repeats them in his story, it is shocking. It makes you wonder why people ever have to talk that way, especially in front of sensitive children. Christopher may be fifteen, but mentally he's a cross between a three-year old child and a fifty-year old mathematician at MIT....more
I think I like this one better than "Turning Angel" which is the second Penn Cage book.
Penn Cage is one of my favorite literary characters, and GregI think I like this one better than "Turning Angel" which is the second Penn Cage book.
Penn Cage is one of my favorite literary characters, and Greg Iles has also managed to add some more to that list: Dr. Tom Cage, Daniel Kelly, and Danny McDavitt. All three of those latter show up in Iles' books randomly, just as minor characters or in McDavitt's case, an entire book (Third Degree).
Devil's Punchbowl had almost every character I can remember from Iles' previous books, and it's interesting because of his 12 or so books, only 3 are actually a series (the Penn Cage books). Since so many of his books are set in Natchez, it is naturally assumed that these people will cross paths. I like how they meet and interact with each other.
Turning Angel was a bit graphic for me in some places. Haunting in it's explicitness, something I'm not used to. Devil's Punchbowl is more where I'm comfortable with the subject matter, even considering dogfighting and prostitution and gambling are major themes in this book. Iles toned down the graphic nature of his book, and for that I am thankful. I can know that a character was brutally raped or a pair of fighting dogs were mauling each other without actually knowing every detail of it.
Iles' did well with this book and his characters. I'm happy to know that he intends to write another Penn Cage book....more
Not one of my favorites from this favorite author at all. If you love Greg Iles' Natchez/Penn Cage/Mississippi books, this one isn't for you. I didn'tNot one of my favorites from this favorite author at all. If you love Greg Iles' Natchez/Penn Cage/Mississippi books, this one isn't for you. I didn't like "Spandau Phoenix" either...