His name is Christopher John Francis Boone. He knows all the countries of the world and all of their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. And he is the most unlikely hero of any novel I’ve read as long as I can remember.
The Curious Incident is the narrative story of a 15 year old autistic boy that finds his neighbors poodle stabbed through the middle with a garden fork. He sets out to find the dog murderer and has to come to terms with his relationship with his parents.
I have been reading quite a bit about autism lately and Haddons novel seems as true to form as anything I’ve read from the autistic community. The first-person perspective puts you into the brain of this boy and helps to understand how autitistic people think of the world around them, how they interpret their surroundings and go about their daily lives.
“I said that I wasn’t clever. I was just noticing things how things were, and that wasn’t clever. That was just being observant. Being clever was when you looked at how things were and used the evidence to work out something new. Like the universe expanding, or who committed a murder. Or if you see someones name and you give each letter a value from 1 to 26 (a=1, b=2, etc) and you add the numbers up in your head and you find it makes a prime number, like Jesus Christ(151), OR Scooby-Doo(113) or Sherlock Holmes(163) or Doctor Watson(167).”
The book is filled with mathematical strangeness and examples of how life can be organized like a math problem. Each chapter is a prime number (89, 97, and 101 are consecutive).
I’ve been reading less and less fiction lately, but this is a book that I intend to read again. It is intelligent, moving, and memorable. If you read this book, you will never be able to forget it.
posted by Biz