Cephalopod Coffee House


Welcome to the Cephalopod Coffee House. This meetup is hosted by The Armchair Squid. We meet the last Friday of the month to discuss the best books we've read during the month.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AVVhtHugL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThis month I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

As always when I run across a "literary" novel that I actually like, I'm shocked by how much I liked it. I guess I've been burned too many times by books that are basically 300 pages of people moping around. THIS book has no moping. It follows the adventures of Christopher John Francis Boone, a teenaged boy who loves math and science, animals and the color red. He knows the prime numbers up to 7057, and dreams of being an astronaut. His lofty goals are somewhat hampered by his "learning difficulties" which include:

  • He hates the color yellow
  • He hates the color brown
  • He can't stand to be touched
  • He has difficulty reading other people's emotions
The novel is presented as a story written by Christopher at the urging of his teacher. It begins as a mystery novel - because those are the only novels worth reading in Christopher's opinion - and with the murder of a neighborhood dog. As the story moves on, even greater mysteries are presented, the solving of which tests Christopher's boundaries and resolve. The narration is in the first person, and very much captures the voice of someone who may or may not be autistic (Christopher's "learning difficulties" certainly point in the direction of autism, but it is never mentioned in the book, and upon later research, it appears the author has never explicitly stated he is autistic). I was really rooting for the kid from the beginning, and was sad to come to the end of the book.

Comments

  1. Nice review. I've read A Spot of Bother by the same author but not this one, it was over hyped and I always find that a bit offputting. But it sounds like this is a case where it's worth a try!

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    1. I heard about this book while listening to a story about how they are making it into a play. It sounded very interesting to me, and I hadn't heard of it previously, so I didn't get to be burned by the hype. I really enjoyed it.

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  2. I've read this book and A Spot of Bother and loved them both. It's been years since I've read Curious Incident and now I have teenagers ... do you think it's appropriate for a 13-year-old boy? I'm thinking of recommending it to my son. I can't remember whether the pacing and subject matter would work for a kid that age.

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    1. It depends on how mature your son is, and your own personal opinions on what is appropriate for a 13 year old. It's not what I would consider YA despite Christopher's age. There is some mild swearing, (not the narrators own words, he's just repeating what people have said to him) and some mentions of sex (not descriptions, just acknowledging the fact that it exists). Also, adultery is a major plot point of the novel. The protagonist is a few years older. But if you like to encourage your son to read about people with real flaws and real challenges this would be a good book, and if you think he can handle these caveats, I think he would like it.

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  3. Thanks for mentioning this one. I haven't read it, but I have two high-function "borderline" autistic nephews who might like it.
    Veronica

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    1. It depends on how old your nephews are. It's not what I would call a YA novel. There is some mild swearing, (not the narrators own words, he's just repeating what people have said to him) and some mentions of sex (not descriptions, just acknowledging the fact that it exists). Also, adultery is a major plot point of the novel. If your nephews are older teens or adults, I think they would enjoy it. If they are younger, just be aware that Christopher is learning a lot about the adults around him, and it's not always pretty.

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  4. Oh now I'm intrigued by this… thank you, Jennifer… I don't read anything these days without a rec. So this is awesome.

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    1. I'm glad you found my review helpful.

      My to read list is full of recommendations just from the Cephalopod Coffee House. I just don't have time to get to them all. One day I will.

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  5. Sorry to be so late making the rounds...

    Sounds like a wonderful - and ambitious - concept. I instantly guessed autism. Interesting that it's never explicitly stated.

    Happy New Year!

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  6. I've seen this book but didn't know if I'd like it. Now I think I will like it.

    Love,
    Janie

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