Not So Curious in a Long Time

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

I know I came to this late, but I had my reasons. I have generally been weary of books that become too famous too soon, even with the people who have never read a book. This was one of those books. It was everywhere – streets, newspapers, magazines, and small talk between friends. Therefore, I dismissed without ever bothering to even find out what the book was all about.

However, I kept stumbling upon this curious one every now and then in the blogosphere. Sometimes the revies were quite good. Some even called it a sensitive book. Then I came to know it about a 15 year old guy suffering with Aspergers Syndrome. So, I said, let’s give it a try.

I first heard about the Aspergers Syndrome through the famous Boston Legal series. However, it was beyond my comprehension what it actually means to be suffering from it. As far as that is concerned, Mark Haddon, I believe has captured the essence in two ways – the pain of both the patient and his family. Imagine if one of your family members lived life by pure logic. It sounds OK, but you need to read this book to understand the what it actually means.

Having said that, I must state that the book reads too easy, sometimes frustatingly so. After about 1/4th of the book, I was about to drop it for it seemed there was too much pointles gibberish. The book is replete with nonesensical passages. If that was meant for the reader to understand exactly how frustrating and difficult it can be to live with a person suffering with this disease, I guess Haddon achieves it successfully. However, if it was meant to sound cute, he fails miserably.

The one interesting thing that this story makes you wonder about is the question that Dostoevsky puts forth in his Idiot. Was Prince Myshkin the idiot or the rest of the world? A person suffering from Aspergers Syndrome has no problems with logic. He is more logical than any of us can ever be. He has problems absorbing or appreciating emotions, people, and social relations. Why? Because, somewhere down the evolutionay cycle, logic was left behind. Being human no longer is synomous to being logical – far from it. We are the most ‘conditioned’ of all species. Probably, those suffering from AS have somehow escaped that conditioning. So, who is the patient?

This is not a book you need-to-read-before-you-die, however, next time you take a long flight, it could be a easy and relaxing read.

P.S: Neither do I, nor has Mark Haddon in the book made any claims to having known much or understood at all, people suffering with Aspergers. Mark Haddon actually doesn not name the disease at all. I have never met anyone with the syndrome and can not even begin to understand what a person having it would be like. This is in response to a reply to this post.

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8 responses to “Not So Curious in a Long Time

  1. A few remarks from a person with Asperger’s, which I hope will correct the impression you apparently got from the book. First, not everyone with Asperger’s is suffering from it. In fact, many of us are quite happy with ourselves, just as we are.

    Second, the experiences of one person don’t really tell you much about Asperger’s because it varies widely in many ways, and everyone’s experience is different.

    Third, the human race has never been ruled by logic. In fact, the construction and use of a formal logic is a very late development in human history. Most people with Asperger’s are as capable of appreciating emotions and relationships as anyone else — they may have to come to it from a different angle, and may express it differently, but they are not coldly logical beings.Many of them are no more capable of logical thought than anyone you meet on the street. Spend a day browsing an Aspie forum and you’ll see the same range of interests and emotions as anywhere else.

    Fourth, books written from one’s own experience often assume that their experience is typical, which it may not be. And it may also repeat information which is completely wrong, such as official diagnostic guidelines. For instance,the guidelines in the DSM are responsible for many of the stereotypes about people with Asperger’s because they are out of date, and are narrowly focused on pathology and cure.

    Please do us the favor of not passing along, any further than this blog post, what you have read in one book as if it is the truth.

  2. I like your comparisons to Dostoevsky’s Idiot, how the world calls certain people “idiots” because they are different, but in some ways, they are more “normal” than most of us.

  3. I guess I’m the last one to hear about that book, but it sounds like one I need to pass up anyway.

  4. Haven’t read this book but recently watched a film from Filmmovement.com called BenX about a teenage boy suffering from Asperger’s syndrome. Seems to have a similar theme although your interpretation of the Idiot doesn’t match my understanding of Aspergers. Haven’t read The Idiot, yet – but have watched Kurosawa’s interpretation several times (just watched it tonight, in fact). 🙂 Based on Kurosawa’s film, people aren’t ruled by logic at all – they are ruled by their passions. The idiot wasn’t more logical, just more passionate than all of them so able to see beyond the logical trappings of passion. This fits with the theme of Ben X, too.

  5. Finally, someone else who didn’t enjoy the book all that much. I found it to be vapid and overly simplistic as well.

    I like your blog! You’re going on my blogroll and bloglines feeds, so you’ll be hearing a lot more from me in the future. Woot!

  6. Your review is well-written, and leaves me to understand why I haven’t read the book. The jacket and it’s blurb turned me off, for some reason.

  7. Hi, just saw this old post of yours. I never enjoyed this book much either, and yes, I do believe it was over rated too. However, Haddon’s ‘A Spot of Bother’ had me in splits.

  8. Hmm… after this one, am not quite convinced about picking his next. Though, maybe someday I shall…in distant future.

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