Sunday, July 28, 2013

Teen Review: Curiosity, Dogs, and Autism

A review by M.G.Lewis, ninth grade

One of the best, most curious books I have ever come across is appropriately entitled The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. It is a 226-page fictitious young adult novel told from the perspective of a teenage boy with autism. Being the sibling of a teenage boy with autism, I find this book and the author’s style of writing extremely accurate. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has a surprisingly easy, light flow to it that makes me consider this novel a page-turner. However, the overall plotline and underlying themes are dark and mature. Being a ninth-grader, I would put this book at a 7-12 grade reading level. This novel is not part of a series, nor does it appear to be a book that would have a sequel written to it.

This book follows the story of a high school student with Asperger's living in England: Christopher. The story begins with Christopher finding the dead body of his neighbor’s dog, and thus the story of his investigating the dog’s death ensues. Along the way, Christopher discovers things he never expected to – and never wanted to.

I have to say that after 14 years of living with a brother who has autism, in my humble opinion the author grasped the concept of what it must be like inside an autistic teen’s head as brilliantly as a typically developing human being can. His execution of the styles and mannerisms of the autistic mind was spot-on. Not to mention, he created a story with enough twists and turns to make me finish the book in a matter of days.

The reader feels sympathetic towards Christopher, and may even feel empathy. (Heaven knows you don’t have to have autism to be socially awkward!) I personally fell in love with this Englander, and I think anyone with a heart and an ounce of sense will feel the same. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to see what it is like inside the mind of someone whose whole world is different from theirs, or anyone who enjoys a good story. A 5/5 rating is definitely necessary.

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