The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon is about a teenage boy on the autistic spectrum trying to find out who murdered his neighbour's dog, with some difficult discoveries along the way.
The thing is, there is no mention of an ASD label - the reader does not know what the boy has, only that he is not the same as everybody else. There is no labeling other than the rude things other people call those with special needs. It is because of this approach that I had no idea I was reading about some form of ASD until I read it again recently (and after my son had been diagnosed).
This is not a book I would have chosen to read on my own, but because my uncle (known for giving me wonderfully quirky, twisted, unusual, depraved or otherwise thought provoking books) gave it to me to read. I read it years ago and recently read it again and was surprised how I saw things unfolding this time around.
I have a son with an asd diagnosis and while the character is very different to my 8 year old, there are still many striking similarities. For instance when the kid discovers the dog, I immediately know he is going to look at the dog, touch it and maybe even try to pick it up, and that he is going to get caught and suspected of killing the dog himself. I know this because my son does a lot of stuff that appears questionable and inappropriate with a completely different set of intentions than it appears on the surface.
Perhaps one of the most beneficial things readers can take from this book is an insight into the often frustrating interactions which occur between the atypical and neurotypical. I like to think that if people read this book they will better understand why communicating can be so difficult with ASD children, and perhaps communicate more effectively instead of blaming the child for misunderstood intentions and behaviours.
I liked this book, it was quirky in the way only an atypical mind can be, and was easy to read, drawing the reader into the perspective of the character.
One review of this book said the character had no emotional responses and that simply is not true.
There is a great deal of emotion involved only it is not understood and thus not talked about by the character. This does not mean he feels nothing, he does and cannot articulate it or understand it like others can and when it all does get to be too much for him, he reacts visibly and often physically with little or no insight into the fact it has to do with emotions behind it. Perhaps this so why so many neurotypical people think these on the spectrum have no empathy or emotion. It is just not always easily apparent as it is in a neurotypical person because emotional messages are sent differently!
I enjoyed it too. It's funny, I didn't realise it didn't actually say he was on the autistic spectrum in the book. I think I just assumed it because I know some people with Asperger's and some of the main character's behaviour was so familiar.
I only realised it because my uncle gave it to me pre kids and I didn't know anyone on the spectrum. Thought the kid was just quirky. Then read it again post kids and was like whoa this is my son duhhhh it's a book about asd but without the labels!