A story about a kid, called Christopher Boone, who understands the quantifiable, tangible and apparent stuff but is stumped by abstract things like time, emotions and human behavior.
It started out annoying but slowly I came to terms with the tone of the book. It is about something bigger than just characters and a plot arc. It is the harsh reality of what would happen if we were to be completely non-humanized.
In the beginning it was like reading about humans from an alien’s point of view – a very opinionated alien. I felt like there was no character to this character.
He was a mess of disorders – from Synesthesia, to OCD, from Misanthropism to Asperger syndrome. I am pretty sure I detected Dyslexia. Yep, he was definitely dyslexic. Wikipedia tells me that he also had Savant Syndrome. It seemed like he had every mental syndrome ever known to mankind.
The majority of the book seemed like a game designed for doctors.
“Okay Doc, so I will tell you a story…yeah…and then you’ve got to figure out what disorders the characters have.”
How do I put him in a genre?
Honestly, in the first part of the book, I had pegged him down as an introverted, extremely opinionated know-it-all and a mathematics fanatic. A phlegmatic. I wasn’t far off the mark.
Or, Maybe I was…he does make a slip.
He talks about how he only stores images from his past in his brain and scans them when he needs it. He talks about how people are stupid to imagine things in the future, but immediately, in the following paragraph, he is talking about being in a submarine in an underwater volcano. Maybe he isn’t a total sociopath after all.
One needs lots of patience to read this drone. Everything is just blatantly put. Completely sans emotions. It’s not easy, for example, he talks about how his mother was cremated instead of buried and immediately switches to the topic of eating out. That’s it. No emotions. So, one really needs a lot of patience to read this.
The letters from mother became overwhelming after the first two. I hated reading the mother talk to Christopher in the same long-drawn out manner. That’s just not how a sane person talks, even if it is to a child. She wasn’t any different from Christopher, in theory. That’s not character development, Mark Haddon. Sometimes the dialogue was too drawn out. Purposefully so. It gets irritating, like when the father goes to drop the book into the dustbin. Everybody knows that this is gonna happen, but Christopher notes that the book is missing- completely unnecessary there. Maybe the father is bipolar. He does act weird at times. Oops, there I am guessing again…
The mother and father characters didn’t even make me blink till the very end. I even had a hunch that his friend, Siobhan, was imaginary. I couldn’t find out till the end.
But really, these places where we see insights of Christopher’s mind don’t contribute to taking the story forward, au contraire…mon ami. Take some pointers from Sheldon Cooper. There is both character and story in The Big Bang Theory.
I Quit. There ain’t no character Analysis:
Then I realized it was no use making a character analysis, because the entire book is just a crazy take on the universe and all that it’s got to offer. So I decided to look at it from an ‘educational’ instead of an ‘emotional’ point of view.
So what was the point of this book? I’ll tell you what…
This book breaks down EVERYTHING.
Christopher has an apathetic take on all the serious stuff about the world – Wars, Human psychology, Religion, Society and economics, why certain things are a certain way etc.
– sometimes, his opinion isn’t the only opinion on the earth.
I think as we all are slightly disturbed in normal lives, we like to read about better lives on paper (Kindle)
Moving on, I loved that the chapter numbers were prime numbers. Reflects his ideology and was fitting to the case in hand. At one point, this book reminded me of PK (the hindi movie). I’d like to think of it as an extended version of PK, focusing on more than religion.
I really didn’t get the purpose of the book for a long time. Where is this headed? It started out good, but there had to be some hook to keep me going past 40%.But after 90%, I quickly went from regretting the book to endearing, within seconds. When Christopher makes one of the biggest decisions in his life, I felt so happy for him. It was good to know that Christopher, as disturbed as he is, still retains his likes and dislikes. His desire to see every human-loving human perish, but wanting an ice-cream is the best part.
“Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”
“People think that alien spaceships would be solid and made of metal and have lights all over them and move slowly through the sky because that is how we would build a spaceship if we were able to build one that big. But aliens, if they exist, would probably be very different from us. They might look like big slugs, or be flat like reflections. Or they might be bigger than planets. Or they might not have bodies at all. They might just be information, like in a computer. And their spaceships might look like clouds, or be made up of unconnected objects like dust or leaves.”
“But I don’t feel sad about it. Because Mother is dead. And because Mr. Shears isn’t around anymore. So I would be feeling sad about something that isn’t real and doesn’t exist. And that would be stupid.”
“And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? and I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything.”