I borrowed and read this book in high school from library and it got me completely hooked until I finished. I didn’t think so much of it afterwards. However, I recently saw this book at an old book sale and I knew that this was going in my shelf of treasured ones. So even though I wanted to buy the whole sale with thousands of new stories awaiting to be known, I wish to spend my limited money on something already read. Why? Simply because sometimes some things are so good you wish to revisit them again and again. It could be a memory, a place or in my matter a book.
It was after a few months of looking at it placed so carefully on my shelf that I decided to give it a read again. This is important now, I don’t usually give books a re-read with movies it’s very different ofcourse. Maybe a few pages here and there or if its a collection, a particular story I am fond of. But never the whole book altogether. So this was a first (as far as I can remember).
The experience I thought would bring back the old memories but it didn’t. Don’t be sad. I had new ones. Second time’s a charm they say but I didn’t feel it initially for some reason. Maybe I was more focused on my experience of a second time that the story took a backseat. I started marking out the things I liked a lot and would love to further write about. However, I came to the realisation that I could hardly enjoy it anymore. So I stopped making doggy ears and closed the note making app on my phone. It worked, I became hooked.
So here is my review (Finally!)
The story is different. I know we hear it a lot for almost all of them but indeed it is and you can realise it only once you give it a read. The one thing I love about this one it is written from the perspective of a 15 year old kid. So the characters may not seem to have a lot of depth like in probably a detective series or intensely obsessive books but there is sheer innocence attached to it. The character is special. (Yes heard that before too!) However, I would call him so because it is how he also refers to himself and other kids.
He cannot stand it when people touch him and will hit back or scream. Avoids crowded places and stranger danger. Likes his food red or green. Doesn’t use anything yellow or brown. Counts the number of cars and their colour on the way to school to determine if it is a good day, a super good day or a black day. Cannot process sarcasm or too much information and starts groaning. Maths makes him calm.
The author has tried their very best to provide a logic behind everything either by simply stating or mathematically proving it. For example: It is told in the intial few pages that the book it is not a funny book. Also, that Christopher the 15 year old writer of the book has numbered chapters only with prime numbers because he likes them. It is this simplicity that makes it different from others. The writer has achieved a great thing here. He doesn’t try a remind you of who he is in real life. Rather he doesn’t even attempt for recognition. The book is created to be quite factual so the lines between Mark Haddon and our Christopher are utterly blurred. In my opinion, it is great deal if you can make people forget about you and make them remember the story. It is an honour.
There are illustrations for selective things which helps to put things in place and give a child’s touch to it.
Even though he is kid he has his own logic to life and a great one. A few instances
- He likes maths because that is straightforward unlike people who are confusing and every problem has a solution which according to him is applicable to life as well.
- He calls metaphor a metaphor in itself. He says it is a lie because you use a word to describe something that it isn’t.
- He calls out humans for considering themselves best animal although they are just like any other and with evolution could be defeated in future.
- He compares computers with people saying that too much information can make for faulty functions in both.
The beginning is profoundly structure with logic and reasoning, thanks to his photographic memory. However, with passing time a lot of events unfold that make Christopher forgetful, sick and emotional like any other kid which is reflective in the writing as well. With less precision and details, it feels like it would end on an abrupt note. It does or it doesn’t it is entirely reader dependent. Some may feel satisfied with the ending, some may not. All I can say is he ends up uncovering a lot of mysteries which bring about changes in him by doing more than he signed up for.
Although I do not remember much of my first time read but I know I enjoyed it much more back then. Maybe because I have grown up like Christopher would have now.
Maybe if he himself gave it a read again, he might add a few changes. Who knows? I would prefer to keep this book within ‘the high school memory segment’.
More than the story, it is the character I find intriguing. Intriguing enough to give it read. We can learn a lot from him.