Jen Terpstra's Reviews > The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
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Feb 10, 08

bookshelves: disliked, random-lit
Recommended for: People who annoy me.
Read in April, 2007

Ok, I get the concept. A heartwarming story told from the vantage point of an autistic boy.

Heartwarming, eh. Sure. Cerebral? You bet. For the "Literary Snob"? ABSOFREAKINGLUTELY. (Because most of those people LOVE "The Catcher in the Rye"...one of my most hated books of all time...and this book has been compared to that one. I should have known).

Look. I'm smart, I'm educated. I'm a professional woman who adores literature and loves to read. I bought this book because I was told that it was GREAT by a couple of friends. I'd also read the reviews. I'll give it a shot, ok?

Ack. It took me a full month to get through this book. This from someone who can devour a book in twelve hours (including "masterpieces" such as Memoirs of a Geisha, Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice....loved them all). I didn't like it. I didn't find it "lyrical" I didn't find the writing in ANY way "superior" to some of the "genre" authors I read (Nora Roberts anyone?). It left me depressed and out of sorts. And a little pissed off.

If that's what makes a "Classic" these days, please count me out. I'll stick with my "silly" genre novels ANY day of the week.

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Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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message 1: by Jen (new) - rated it 1 star

Jen Terpstra Ha! Thanks. :D The book just upset me. I don't understand why I'm "supposed" to read crap like this just because "they" say so. "They" don't understand it either. They just pretend to. *rolleyes*


Wendy Milikien Candelaria Totally agree with you! My book club read this a few months ago and we all hated it.


message 3: by Jp (new)

Jp I think the fact that it made you feel something different to what other books have done in the past, speaks in its favour. A book doesn't necessarily have to make you feel satisfied to be worth reading. Plus, you have to read the stuff you don't like to realise what you do.


message 4: by Mpc1 (new)

Mpc1 "they" are so annoying. "they" think you are a "moron" just because you don't read "smart" books that "they" like, "they" probably think "nora roberts" is a "moron," well "they" might be right about ol nora, that crap is sort of like shorthand for people who "enjoy" "thinking" and have "complex" emotions and need something "interesting" to stimulate them. god i hate "stupid" lit snobs!!! BUT I LOVE "QOUTES"!!!!!


Heather I agree with JP... a book doesn't necessarily have to invoke feelings of satisfaction to be a quality book. Unless you're on the spectrum and can actually identify with the main character, the story SHOULD make you feel a little uncomfortable and confused. People on the spectrum DON'T think or act the same way as people who are not; the author's POV and voice in this story illustrate just that, and in my opinion, in order to make non-autistic people begin to understand what life is like for those on the spectrum. I don't agree with your claim that others think this is a classic...books become popular for any number of reasons. Just because it's on a bestseller list doesn't mean it will last through the ages (like Pride and Prejudice) to become a classic. Be careful with your labeling.


Chelinda You are right, Cather in the Rye is complete crap and one of my most hated books of all time. And you are also right that Pride and Prejudice is one of the best novels of all time. So with that in common, I'm guessing the reason you didn't like this books is that you don't have a loved one in the autism spectrum like I do. This book is not "Literary Snob" material by any means, I think only people who don't have an autistic loved one would think of it in those terms. It's not a classic either. However, it is groundbreaking because when this book came out, my son was 9 years old (he is now an adult) and I really had no idea what he was thinking...ever...because he doesn't communicate, verbally or otherwise. I cannot tell you how much I wished I could just have an inkling of how his mind worked... and then this book came out. There is more truth to this boy than you may realize since you do not live with someone with autism and really, I understand because it would be hard for me to understand either if I didn't live with it every day. The one thing I hated about this book was the parents. The mother left?? What a selfish bitch. And the father thinks life is so bad? Ha!! I only wish my son could talk, write, and ride public transportation by himself! Get off the pity parade already! The adults in this novel are crap and poorly written, but the insight into how the boys thinks is great. I also highly recommend anything by Temple Grandin.


Elizabeth I just had to write because I both like (Pride and Prejudice, etc.) and hate (Catcher in the Rye - blech!) the books you mentioned in the exact same degree as you, yet really loved this one. Weird. I loved the kid's voice, mostly because it is so alien. Also, I have a number of friends with kids on the spectrum, and to have the behavior I hear them talk about "explained" from the inside is fascinating to me.


Amber I'm 52 pages in and this feels like a scribble put into words! I have no idea if I will/can finish this. I'm glad I got it for only $2 at Goodwill. A 'sheeple' book for sure. Thank goodness I'm not the only one


Zach Long I can respect your opinion but being called a fake is where you have "us" wrong. In the same way we can't imagine having fun with genre books, you can't have fun with "snob" books. I don't know why people have to take that dissonance to the extreme by saying we only pretend to enjoy these. Yes it does piss me off and yes it does actually hurt, as if a 99% virginity rate among snobbers isn't enough. That last part - OK maybe a little manipulative but dang, being called insincere. Brings out the worst.


message 10: by Cherene (new)

Cherene Why can't we have the both of both worlds? I can go with some mindless, happy predictable novel. The next day, I can pick up my heavy copy of War and Peace (name drop) and give that a go. I get satisfaction from both. One makes me think about culture, different perspectives, feelings, hatred... just generally makes me feel (whatever it is that I do). The other lets me escape from the harsh pressures of reality. Seriously, it can be both.


Scott Worden So true. I hated "Catcher in the Rye" and after halfway reading this book, I'm feeling the same sort of hatred for this book too. haha


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Just because someone likes books like the catcher in the rye doesn't mean they're literary snobs, it means they know what they like to read and read that, the same way you do.


Waltham A month? It took me 3 hours, I couldn't read fast enough to finish this ordeal! ;)


Philip Gordon Did it really take you a month to finish a 200 page book? Maybe you should spend less time letting people know how educated you are and articulate how you had reading difficulty with deliberately simple prose.


message 15: by Mary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mary Funny! I really liked this book, but so many of the books other people like, I absolutely hate. I got a kick out of your review.


Scott Worden Philip, maybe it took her a month to get through because she didn't want to finish this ridiculous book and felt like reading something else to keep her sanity in the meantime.


message 17: by Ann (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ann Ms. Terpstra, all three of the books you listed as masterpieces are historical romances. That might be what you're comfortable reading. Not everyone wants to stay within their comfort zone. Some people want to experience a story that expands their view of themselves and the world, even if they'll feel depressed for the brief time it will take them to adjust to the change.


message 18: by Denise (new)

Denise Debois boo Philip, yay, Scott . . . .Ha!


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