11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Intriguing Visit Inside the Autistic Mind and Look at Math,
This review is from: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Alex Awards (Awards)) (Hardcover)This novel is one of the most unusual that I have ever read. I initially gauged its success by how well emotionally engaged I was by the story. For the first half, I was gripped . . . but the book tailed off from there. If I only looked at the book from that perspective, I would grade it a 3. But the book also contains interesting references to science and math that reminded me of John Paulos's books on how a mathematician looks at the world. Those parts I rated at a 5. So the two perspectives came out to a 4. But if you don't particularly like math or science, this will be an average novel for you before you are done.
The premise is simple. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is autistic with many emotional complications (including not being able to read others' emotions) . . . and also has a brilliant mind for logic. Because of his fascinating experiences, his teacher, Siobhan encourages him to write a book . . . which is this one.
It's easy to think of Christopher as much younger than he is . . . with problems concerning strangers, others touching him, and wetting himself. But then the brilliant mind comes out, and you feel like you are in contact with a professor. The combination is fascinating in the first half of the book as Christopher tries to find out who stuck a pitchfork through the neighbor's dog. As a twist on The Hound of the Baskervilles, that part of the book is irresistible.
Once that mystery is solved, the book seems to veer off into less realistic and less emotionally compelling material. Christopher's character was no longer completely believable to me. The writing seemed more like an exercise by an author than Christopher's own as the "author" of this book.
I treasured though those parts of the book that help me understand how an autistic person might view the world. It reminded me of those jumbled letters and reversed numbers on cards that teachers show to simulate what dyslexia is like for those who are not dyslexic. Such journeys in another's footsteps are rewarding and I encourage you to seek them out.
Based on this first novel, I can only hope that we will read more about Christopher in the future. I suggest, though, that the knife be left behind.