Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fork Through Dog

"In the deepest ocean, the bottom of the sea," Weird Fishes by Radiohead.

So I got the Whitbread Award winning book "The Curious Incident Of The Dog At The Night Time" as a birthday present a few days ago. I already read it a few years ago, but then I noticed that the book got missing when I tried looking for it to have a reread, and I told this to a friend of mine nonchalantly, and whadayaknow, two months later the friend gives me a copy as a gift. I am very grateful.

Fun fact: I do not reread books. I'm lazy like that, I suppose. Plus, I have a lot of books remaining on my yet-to-read shelf, so it discourages me from reading stuff I've already read. Thus, know that since I wanted to reread this one, it is a very, very good read.

I got through the book in a little over 24 hours. Sure the book isn't very thick (221 pages), but again that is very rare for me. Even Catcher in The Rye took me 3 days to finish. So yeah, this book is a big deal. To me, at least. It made me laugh throughout, and cry towards the end. "Heartbreakingly endearing" was the phrase I used to describe it in GoodReads.

Now for the bit with spoilers. If you haven't read the book yet (and you want to before reading what I have to say about it), you should probably get back to this post after reading it. 

If you already have (or you don't want to), then let's go.

One of the most striking things about the book to me was the depiction of how a family copes with having a child with autism. The parents are obviously very stressed with what Christopher has and how he is. It finally ruins their marriage with the mother having an affair with their neighbour (who later on proved to be a douchebag. HAMEKAU!) and moving out of the house, leaving his father to take care of Christopher by himself. 

The parents' relationship with each other is very interesting (and, if I may add, depressing) to observe since it depicts how having a child with autism can make a marriage take a turn for the worst. But I don't think it was Haddon's (the author) intent to make this the case. What he might have wanted to show was what goes on in the mind of a boy with autism when his parents aren't able to manage themselves well enough to be stable emotionally for the sake of their child. They took out their anger on each other and did not communicate very well (every time they got within sight of each other, all they seemed to do was shout) and this led to their marriage falling apart. The main reason the mother gave for cheating on the father was that they stopped talking to each other, and this shows how immensely important open and honest communication is in making a relationship work, moreover when you have a child with autism to take care of. They failed to do so, leading to the deterioration of their relationship with each other, and, in effect, with Christopher too.

Having said that, it is evident that both the parents love Christopher very much. His father, I could say, loves him to pieces. A particularly gut-wrenching part of the story was when Christopher locked himself up in his room and his father knocks on his door and tries to talk to him to no avail, and he just sits in front of Christopher's door for a very long time. That was tragic. Try imagining yourself trying to talk to someone you love very much but they don't want to, and they run away from you. You would just feel helpless and hapless and all you can do is just sit there and cry and regret what you've done and wish you could turn back time to undo what you did. That brought me to tears, imagining myself in his position and being so powerless.

I've met a person with autism before. He was 13, almost Christopher's age. He wasn't as high-functioning as Christopher was, but I got the general idea of how having autism looked like. And I gained a picture of the screaming and the retaliations that entails being in contact with a person with autism. I don't know if I would be able to cope. But of course, I need to understand that no test given to me would be given if I wasn't strong enough to get through it. I need to remember to keep calm and communicate.

It's a very powerful book. If you want a better understanding of what goes on inside a person with autism's head, then this is the best example I can give you.

May peace be upon you.



eiyd said...

satu book review yg menarik.

Anonymous said...

hey there Anwar Hadi..great review of d book! just wondering.. what would u do if ur christopher's dad & u found out that ur wife's cheating on u?

never imitate. create. said...

if you like this kind of novels, i bet you would like Jodi Piccoult's novels too. 'House rules' is about a teenager who has the Aspergers syndrome (a form of high functioning autism)and how the family deals with it. and if you want to watch a heartbroken-that-you-cried-your-eyes-out movie based on the true story about a life of an autistic girl, you can watch temple grandin. i assure you, both of these stories can make your mind and brain work the way they are supposed to be. harhar.

Unknown said...

Hi Anwar. I've read the book years ago and reading your review has made me want to reread the book too! I also, do not reread books. :) This is the first book I've read with a child narrator. and I have read couple more of them like Room and Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend and there are others on my to-read list. More book reviews please! Thanks.