Cecily’s review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Shawn (new)

Shawn Sorensen 'breathless...' I like your use of the word for this review.


message 2: by Cecily (new)

Cecily When I reread it, I'll see if I think it's still valid. ;-)


Travelling Sunny Wow! That sounds really GOOD! Great review!


message 4: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Shawn, having finished rereading it, I think "breathless" still applies.

Thanks, Sunny. It's a YA book, so a pretty quick read, but certainly an enlightening and enjoyable one too. It is also quite funny, which is not something reflected very well in my review. Maybe I'll have to amend it again.


message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Terrington Great review. I have heard lots of interesting things about this book and that made me more determined to get into it some time soon.


message 6: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Thanks. It really doesn't take long to get into, or even finish, because it was written for the YA market. (After its initial success, it was reissued and remarketed for an adult audience.)


message 7: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Terrington Well certainly any great novel should be applicable for all ages I believe. That is the great success of movie companies like Pixar - they created animated art that was for all people.


message 8: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Very true. And far more fail than succeed, imo.


message 9: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Terrington Oh of course. But at least they tried to create something great rather than settled for an ordinary piece of work as some authors do.


message 10: by Cecily (new)

Cecily (I meant novels, films... all art, really, not just Pixar.)


message 11: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Terrington I meant to take it as that whoops... I meant to indicate that at least where the majority fail they try to create great novels. My fault...


message 12: by midnightfaerie (new)

midnightfaerie Did you know in an interview with the author, the author stated he was irritated by the use of this book as a tool for Asperger's Syndrome info? He never meant for it to be that, and he wasn't writing the character with Asperger's Syndrome at all, only some sort of syndrome that wasn't specifically named. Nowhere in the book it actually says Asperger's Syndrome. I found that interesting. I loved this book!


message 13: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Yes, I realise that, and some people with the condition, or who have family members with it, dislike aspects of his portrayal - but there are others who say it's uncanny how realistic it is.

Ultimately, the label is a useful shorthand, but whether it's strictly true may not matter very much: it's a story told by an outsider. The nature of his difference is fundamental to the story and how it is told, and yet it would be entirely possible to write a version in the voice of someone with Down's Syndrome, short-term memory problems or all sorts of other conditions.


message 14: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Terrington Well thanks to your reminder of a review I picked it up from my university library to join my multiple other books to read over the next three weeks of holidays.


message 15: by Autumn (new)

Autumn I've wanted to read this for a long time. I've heard very few bad things about it. Working with special needs students this will be right up my alley ( with the comments- I wonder what I will think of it and the boy's portrayal?). Thanks for the interesting and great review!


message 16: by Cecily (new)

Cecily I look forward to reading your review if or when you do read it, Autumn.


message 17: by Donna (new)

Donna Parker Asperger's Syndrome is not the same thing as High-Functioning Autism although they are both on the Autism Spectrum.


message 18: by Cecily (last edited Sep 06, 2013 03:00AM) (new)

Cecily Thanks, Donna. Until now, I thought thought Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism were more or less the same, and certainly the two terms are bandied about as if they're interchangeable.

Looking it up now, it seems there are still some grey areas, but for those who don't want to look it up themselves, the consensus clusters around the idea that those with Asperger's develop language fairly normally as toddlers, whereas those with HFA don't (even if they acquire langage later).

The news earlier this year (or last year) that psychiatrists wanted to drop the Asperger's label in favour of an autism-related diagnosis may lead to further confusion.

I've amended my review a little. However, I don't think Christopher's language acquisition is mentioned, so I've left it vague.


message 19: by Travelling Sunny (new)

Travelling Sunny The library just pulled this off the shelf for me. It was your comments about the math puzzles in the book that pushed me over the edge... :)


message 20: by Cecily (new)

Cecily I hope I haven't overstated the maths puzzle element and that you enjoy it. It's quite a quick read.


message 21: by Megan (new)

Megan I keep seeing this one at the book store at school and I really want to read it especially after reading your review and seeing that the main character likes Sherlock Holmes!


message 22: by K.D. (new)

K.D. Absolutely I loved this book too, Cecily. :)


message 23: by Cecily (new)

Cecily K.D. wrote: "I loved this book too, Cecily. :)"

"Loved" but only gave it 3*?


message 24: by Michael (new)

Michael Missed your captivating review (predated our GR friendship). I liked how you pull out the combination of playfulness and depth in the book. Hope you go on to try his A Spot of Bother and The Red House.


message 25: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Fantastic read. Brilliant use of the truly unreliable or should it be differently reliable narrator. Haddon is sick yo death of talking about this book and very much views it as an exploration of essential uniqueness rather than a masterclass on autism. Saw the play premiered in the West End at the end of last summer and the beauty and strangeness of Christopher's vision emerges strongly in the dramatic form. Paradoxically a play about emotional deficits is extremely emotional to experience


l


message 26: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Michael, I have a copy of A Spot of Bother, but haven't got round to reading it yet. Very different from this, I think (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

Lynda, I saw the stage version as well. It was utterly stunning wasn't it? And very emotional.


message 27: by Derek (new)

Derek 'He also hates metaphors (even "the word metaphor is a metaphor", meaning "carrying something from one place to another"), but he doesn't mind similes because they are not untrue.'

I wish I'd remembered this when we were discussing Embassytown!


message 28: by Ruth (new)

Ruth Great review, thank you. I especially appreciate the book suggestions at the end of your review. I have a half dozen Murdoch's but not those, damn! I will keep an eye out for them at the second hand shop when next in the States.


message 29: by Eleni (new)

Eleni as usual I do like seeing what you've read as we have widely ranging yet different readings over the years.... this one though is one that I too have read and loved.....


message 30: by Cecily (last edited Sep 06, 2013 11:46AM) (new)

Cecily I'm glad to be of some small service, Ruth.

Derek, if you wish you'd remembered that when we discussed Embassytown, just think how annoyed I am not to link up comments in my own reviews (something I'm about to rectify)!


message 31: by Traveller (new)

Traveller Interesting! Your description of "patterns" and favorite colours also made me think a bit of OCD.

Thanks for the thought-provoking review and the references, Cecily. Now I must bounce this book up higher on my list... btw, people have been asking to read Iron Council--how do you feel about another Mieville?

I'm about to start it; let's hope it's better than The Scar. :)


message 32: by J. (new)

J. Keck A world that is very foreign to everyone not familiar with the autistic individual. A well done work.


message 33: by Derek (new)

Derek Traveller wrote: "Interesting! Your description of "patterns" and favorite colours also made me think a bit of OCD."

There's a lot of that in many autistics. Not always completely "compulsive", but often "obsessive"


message 34: by Steve (new)

Steve Wonderfully done, Cecily! I wonder how this one compares with that new Japanese one along similar lines. David Mitchell wrote the intro, which makes me curious. Anyhow, back to my main point: you captured this one perfectly -- his reasoning, his preferences, and his problems connecting.


message 35: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Good question, Steve. The Mitchell translation sounds fascinating, but it's a very different approach to the subject. (For anyone unsure of what we're talking about: The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism.)


message 36: by Zanna (new)

Zanna Oh this is such a thorough and satisfying review - you're the first person who's made me want to read this


message 37: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Thanks, Zanna. I hope you enjoy it in due course.

It is a fascinating book, and although at one level it's an easy read, it's more worthwhile not to rush it too much.


message 38: by Zanna (new)

Zanna :-) often the case


message 39: by Thomas (last edited Nov 30, 2014 01:43PM) (new)

Thomas Fennell Thank you Cecily for writing such a great review of the novel. Your thoughts are very similar to mine and you did a superb job of describing the themes, symbols, and motifs of this novel.
You are so right when you say "Christopher loves maths because it is safe, straightforward and has a definite answer, unlike life." I think that those problems and puzzles help him achieve a sense of security, like when he thinks of the Conway’s Soldiers riddle when his thoughts become jumbled in the crowded train station.
Also I am happy you brought the motif of animals up because I didn't see that in anyone else's review. You can tell throughout the novel that he finds comfort in animals that he cannot share with other people. It shows up with his rat Toby, his dad taking him to the zoo, and the dog his father gives him.
Great Review!


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

Sounds intersecting. Great review.

Cecily wrote:"The nature of his difference is fundamental to the story and how it is told, and yet it would be entirely possible to write a version in the voice of someone with Down's Syndrome, short-term memory problems or all sorts of other conditions."

'The Sound and the Fury' comes to mind.


message 41: by Lynne (new)

Lynne King Cecily,

I came across your excellent review by chance. I'm hoping to see the play in March in London, if we can get tickets of course, and so I'm naturally interested to read the book.


message 42: by Derek (new)

Derek Way to go, Cecily! Now you're attracting Arabic spam! There's a certain irony, though, in spam from pest control companies.


message 43: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Derek wrote: "Way to go, Cecily! Now you're attracting Arabic spam!"

I got the notification, but by the time I was able to check here, the comment had gone, so I guess the user has been deleted.


message 44: by Apatt (new)

Apatt Do you think I'd like this book? It sounds up my street (after a couple of left turns).


message 45: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Thanks, Thomas, anon, and Lynne. I'm not sure how/why I missed your comments, even when I replied to Derek's more recent one, but I'm sorry.
:(


message 46: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Apatt wrote: "Do you think I'd like this book? It sounds up my street (after a couple of left turns)."

Hmmm. Hard to be sure, but probably. It's quite a quick read, and is novel in style (as well as being a novel). But if you're reading it primarily for the Sherlock-Cummerbund* connection, you may be disappointed.


*Yes, I know that's not how Bennie's surname is spelt. If you don't like it, try this.


message 47: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Ansbro A sterling review, Cecily, intelligent and empathetic.
I shall swim against the tide of popular opinion by saying that I read this when it first came out, and was less than enamoured.
For me, the book's unique concept was its only saving grace. A plus point was that it didn't become condescending, so credit to the author for that.


message 48: by Renata (new)

Renata Wonderful review, Cecile. I always enjoy the way you structure your reviews in very analytical topics. It makes me both smile and focus more specifically as a reader. I read this when it first came out and genuinely loved it. I have worked with quite a few students who spanned the range of autism and Aspergers so I particularly appreciated this extra window looking into how they might perceive the world. One of the most harrowing parts of the story was when he was in the subway station on his own. Talk about creating empathy for an unimaginably stressful reaction. I've experienced a few crazy stressful incidents in subways, but nothing like his. Thank you,too, for the other book recommendations! I greatly enjoyed the quiet but highly memorable book The Housekeeper and the Professor. It deserves a wider audience. Also enjoyed the thinking on similes and metaphors. Children are naturals with similes - they always dazzled me with their use of them in their poetry and narrative writing, but I completely get why literal minded people rebelled at metaphors. It reminds me of one of my favorite Star Trek episodes with Patrick Stewart in which they were trying to communicate being who only spoke in metaphors. In the end Patrick Stewart used the story of Gilgamesh to relate to this being. Utterly brilliant. I'll add Embassytown to my TBR.


message 49: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Kevin wrote: "A sterling review, Cecily, intelligent and empathetic.
I shall swim against the tide of popular opinion..."


Thanks, Kevin, and there's no shame in going against the tide. At least, I hope not, as I often do. This is, as you say, a unique book, so it's unsurprising that it will divide opinion.


message 50: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Renata wrote: "Wonderful review, Cecile. I always enjoy the way you structure your reviews in very analytical topics.... I have worked with quite a few students who spanned the range"

You're very kind. Thank you, Renata.

I know quite a few people on the spectrum, but not in an educational context, and it rang true to me. The best fiction puts you in minds and situations you could never experience and maybe couldn't imagine, and this certainly did that for me.

I hope you enjoy Embassytown.


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