Friday, June 22, 2012

Dead dogs and mysteries

Wellington the dog has been killed.  Christopher found the dog first, and Mrs. Shears thought he did it.  So Christopher is going to solve

The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime.

 All the other children at my school are stupid.  Except I’m not meant to call them stupid, even though this is what they are.  I’m meant to say that they have learning difficulties or that they have special needs.  But this is stupid because everyone has learning difficulties because learning to speak French or understanding relativity is difficult and also everyone has special needs, like Father, who has to carry a little packet of artificial sweetening tablets around with him to put in his coffee to stop him from getting fat, or Mrs. Peters, who wears a beige-colored hearing aid, or Siobhan, who has glasses so thick that they give you a headache if you borrow them, and none of these people are Special Needs, even if they have special needs.
Christopher, the protagonist and narrator of this book, is autistic.  His condition comes through in every word in this book, from his descriptions of the goings-on around him, to his understanding of events.

The titular case of Wellington the dog is the springboard that jumps us into the story.  Christopher finds Wellington forked to the ground in his neighbor’s yard, and is initially accused of killing him.  When he spots four red cars in a row the next day, he decides to investigate who actually killed the dog.  But even he isn’t prepared for what he eventually discovers.

I really enjoy this book.  The tone is a titch dry, but it really fits the character, and the narrative.  I also enjoy the math problems that are littered throughout the chapters, including my favorite, To switch or not to switch on Let’s Make a Deal.  And no, I won’t spoil it for you.

Even though the writing is necessarily stilted, the flow and pacing of the novel work really well.  Nothing seems rushed, or out of the blue.  There are things that are clichéd, however, the naivety of the narrator takes those clichés and turns them on their head, they are telegraphed for the reader why before Christopher even has any idea.  When your narrator tells you straight up he can’t lie, the lies of the characters in his orbit become even more pronounced.

I highly recommend this book, it is a good read, and a great character study.
5/5 Super Super Great Days

Oh, and happy Friday!

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