Today is a good day because I’ve just picked up The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time from my local library. Despite only being a few pages in, I already remember why it is my favourite book. For anyone who hasn’t read it, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a great 2003 mystery novel by Mark Haddon. The novel is narrated by Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15 year old boy who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties”, as he attempts to find out who killed his neighbour’s dog.
The reason I’m so fond of it is because I don’t see it as a book about a person with Aspergers as is commonly suggested, or any other autistic condition for that matter (which it isn’t anyway – the author himself has said so). I like it because it allows me to see the world in a new, more revealing way, which I personally think is better. One of my favourite aspects of the book is the main character’s quirks, likes and dislikes, especially the ones I find myself relating to. As an example, Christopher doesn’t like it when people touch him, which for a very long time was something I struggled with as well. Although I sometimes liked affectionate touching such as hugs, for some reason I really didn’t like it when people’s body parts came in contact with my own. This extended even to situations where I was not purposely being touched, such as someone’s arm touching me on a packed bus. I would have to either move away into my own space, or get off the bus completely. Looking back I’d definitely say this has improved slightly over the years, but I still don’t like it very much.
However, simply knowing that I’m enjoying the book again has been a bit of a relief for me. Although I’m not very open about it (mostly due to feeling embarrassed) I sometimes struggle with reading large chunks of text. I do get through it eventually, but it can often take me a long time. My brain also has an odd tendency to examine words in a way I can only describe as ‘fleshing out’, which I sometimes have to do several times before I can move on. The unfortunate result of all this is I usually avoid reading books now unless it’s necessary, for example if it’s something to do with my studies. What confuses me the most however is that I used to love reading – I would spend hours after school in the library finding new books and curling up in a warm corner to read them until it was closing time. But as I’ve gotten older, reading seemed to become more difficult. Suddenly there were all of these legendary authors, elaborate manifestos and grand novels, and I felt like it was expected of me to read them now I was a ‘grown up’. But for whatever reason, I was either never able to finish them or I would lose interest pretty quickly. The reason I mention all of this, is because I’ve found reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a lot easier, which is comforting. Perhaps then it’s just the novels geared more towards adults that I don’t seem to like.
As I’m typing this all out I’m realising I probably should have mentioned this reading difficulty to a teacher or personal tutor somewhere along the line, but I digress.
In summary: I am reading my favourite book again while also eating mini doughnuts. I am content.