Author: Mark Haddon
Publisher: Random House Publishing
Publish Date: May 2003
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
This book was one that I was originally forced to read for school during the summer of my senior year. At first I thought it was long and boring and was thoroughly confused at why the first chapter started with 2 instead of 1, but after giving it a go a few times, this book started to become a fast favorite. The main character, Christopher, is hard not to fall for, or, might I even say, love. His inocence is something uncharacteristic of many children and adolescents in recent years. Not only was he a simple minded person, but his disabilities make you realize that we are all vulnearble in some way or another.
Christopher is left in a broken home with a broken spirit. He follows the same routine every day and for a while, he’s quite happy with it. His routine hasn’t changed in the two years since his mother passed. The most exciting thing that he’s done in recent times was start his own book, which is what the book is truly based on. Because he is writing in first person the entire time, the novel is told through the eyes of some of the most innocent people known to us today. Without all the hussle and bussle of the newest cell phones, more modern technology, or anything besides his rerun videos about the ocean, Christopher brings the reader into a world where the only thing that matters is if you see four red cars or four yellow cars in a row.
I loved this book not only because it is told through a realistic approach, but because it took so many different turns that I never expected. The book that stared out as a mystery, eventually became a story about a young boy growing up. This transition from childhood to adulthood is something that I personally understand is extremely difficult to write up in a book. Because is you’ve ever tried to write how one day your childhood turns into a fend for yourself world, you would know that it takes a detailed story line and usually a lot of pages. That’s what I liked about Haddon’s book. It wasn’t too long but yet kept my attention the entire time and I was able to reflect on the novel as a whole by the end of it.
Something that I didn’t care for in this book was how fake some of the characters seemed to be. One minute the story was going one direction and the next, a dropped line would appear and change the entire context of the passage. This was hard for me to follow but it was also difficult from a writer’s perspective to understand where the author was trying to take the novel. Some of the characters in the book were a tad bit underdeveloped and played less or more significant roles then they should have overall. Another issue with characters comes from how few of them there are. The mention of a police officer occured a multitude of times throughout the novel, but at times it was hard to tell if it was the same police officer or a different one.
One more thing that I didn’t care for in this particular novel were some of the sentence structures. I understand that the point of view is from someone who is mentally handicapped, but when introducing dialouge, it seemed like there were an excessive amount of “he said then she said” beginnings. I also am aware that this idea was most likely what the author was going for, I just happened to struggle with that bit and it made it hard to enjoy parts of the story. At times I even found myself skipping over the introduction words in favor of getting straight to the heart of what the characters were actually saying.
With all of that said, I still loved the book. I even finished it within a period of two days which is practically unheard of for me with a school book. It’s a very easy read and extremely easy to get into, just the dialouge and character backgrounds were inefficent. Would I read another Mark Haddon book in the future if it stumbled across my tall stack of soon-to-be-read books? Of course and without a doubt. This is a book that I recommend to you, your best friend, your spouse, your children, and your dog (if it can read), and don’t back down from it just because it seems like a YA book. In my mind, it’s a classic, and a classic can never be turned down.
When I am not sitting around reading any kind of book that I can get my hands on, I can be found casually walking around or writing a novel of my own. I am a current high school student with an passion for reading, writing, taking pictures, and a (secret) gym fanatic.
I enjoy any and all kinds of books, but my favorites are YA, dystopian, British Literature, and historical fiction. I am a big believer in fan fiction and read as much of it as I can. I aspire to be a YA writer and can constantly be found writing way more then I need to for any writing assignment.