My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I will start off by saying that this book is an absolute must read. I read it years ago while I was still in secondary school and I thought that it was amazing.
The novel follows the story of a 15 year old boy, Christopher, who is living his life with Asperger’s Syndrome – a form of Autism. He lives with his father, having been told by him that his mother Judy is dead. One night, Christopher discovers the dead body of a dog named Wellington who belongs to his neighbour Mrs Shears. The novel then takes a kind of murder-mystery outlook as we follow Christopher on his journey to discover who killed Wellington and why.
The book is full of interesting twists and turns that add dimension to the plot. Christopher’s narration reflects his condition – sentences in the book are often short and simple, nothing too complex and it’s easy to follow. Christopher is a very observant character, which makes the mystery easier to keep track of.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I don’t have anything negative to say about it. Without giving anything away, we discover the truth behind the life and fabrications of his parents. There are passages that will evoke sadness but there are also passages that will make you laugh. And what is most endearing about the humour within the book, is that Christopher makes a point of warning us that this will not be a “funny book” because he doesn’t understand jokes and therefore he cannot tell them. But regardless, he does make us laugh. Another thing that makes for a great read, is Haddon’s inclusion of diagrams in the book. I do enjoy a book that does this once in a while, because it’s sometimes nice to have something visual to break up all the pages and pages of writing. It also reveals more to us about Christopher’s character. For example, when he shows us the diagrams of the different smiley faces and tells us that he can recognise happy and sad, but cannot register the emotions on the other ones.
The great thing about this book is that it is accessible to people of all ages. The succinct writing makes it easy for younger readers to understand but at the same time, doesn’t deter older readers from picking it up and giving it a try too. And it proves to be worth it!
Reviewed by: Tanya Marie