This is such an amazing book by Mark Haddon! It’s been kind of a slow reading month for me but I still really enjoyed this and definitely recommend it. I actually bought this book several years ago and it just sat on my bookshelf, untouched until last month, when I browsed my bookshelf looking for something to read, while guiltily staring at a stack of books I had just purchased on Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!).
I read a few chapters every few days before going to bed, and it was hard to figure out which chapter I was really reading because the chapters are numbered using prime numbers, which was not explained until chapter 19 or cardinal chapter 8. I thought it was strange to start with chapter 2 and even thought maybe the chapters are out of order or something!
The story is told from Christopher’s perspective. He is autistic and lives on rules, patterns, routines and cannot easily adapt to changes in the environment or surroundings. The way he describes the situations and interactions that happen around him are so matter-of-fact that they sometimes feel comedic and amusing to the reader, even though to Christopher, he has no emotional reaction at all to them. The way his brain works is truly fascinating and he often thinks about difficult mathematical problems to calm himself down when he feels distressed or uncomfortable.
I love the diagrams throughout the book showing how he sees signs, symbols, words, patterns, puzzles etc. It really gives you a deeper understanding of what it is like for an autistic person to live and function in our world.
The most exciting part of the story is when Christopher leaves his home in Swindon, where he lives with his father, and tries to go to London on his own to find his mother. He repeatedly asks the same questions as he does not understand common expressions or sarcasm and makes you feel frustrated at times. I can totally understand why his parents or other passersby react the way they do to him. It isn’t easy communicating with an autistic person. This book really helps readers to gain a better understanding of their world and how their brains work.
I completely failed to understand the whole math problem he solved in the Appendix; but I just loved how he said that Siobhan had told him to put it in the Appendix because it wasn’t very interesting and not many people would want to read that! Well, she was right!
My favourite problem has to be The Monty Hall Problem, though. I read that part several times and his illustration really helps!
(The book is similar to The Rosie Project series, where the protagonist Don suffers from Asperger’s but doesn’t seem to be aware of it. I have also bought The Rosie Result on Kindle so will probably start reading that soon too.)
See my Goodreads review