I read this little story while traveling for a conference in Vermont a month ago and simply forgot to recount it in my little blog! I had just finished reading a book for work…Web Content Strategy (stimulating as you might imagine), and I was delighted to pick up something that seemed fictional and whimsical.
I borrowed this book from a co-worker and learned that the author, Mark Haddon, is a British writer who has written many children’s books. With that in mind, it was most fitting that the tale would be told from the perspective of a child. While you never know explicitly what kind of developmental issue the boy has, he seems to show characteristics of autism, from what I know about it.
The boy is telling the story and takes the approach of solving the mystery of a murder of a neighbor’s dog. With everything told according to his perspective, you must fill in the gaps of why things are the way they are. He shares about his hatred of certain colors and how their presence in daily life sometimes prevents him from moving forward. You learn about his father’s frustration with these quirks from the boy’s perspective, and it is both heartbreaking and enlightening.
The story turns dark when you learn about the complex relationships of the people around him, and I found myself cringing multiple times with pain for the boy and also sympathy for his father at times. I found myself wondering how I would respond as his father or mother, and how hard it must be to not be able to convey your thoughts in a way that others understand.
Ultimately, this was a very interesting read and thought-compelling. It reads quickly and offers a great deal of fodder for thought, particularly if you are someone who is interested in developmental disorders like autism and aspergers.