Good Reading : March 2005
goodreading 9 To me the most telling chapter was about how Christopher had the dream, his favourite dream, that he was alone in the world. I just thought it was really, really sad that that was how he felt and he didn’t need people. I was fascinated by this book, it’s very clever. Compulsory reading for teachers, I reckon. 8 out of 10. KAY I found the book quite disturbing. I stopped reading it halfway through. I think what I found disturbing was the poor parents who didn’t seem to have any help from anyone in coping with this child and I feel the marriage breakup was probably due to this. I felt that the author did the most amazing job to put himself inside this child. Like you Judy, I was reading it like an autistic child would read something and I thought ‘stop this, stop it’ just let it flow. But it doesn’t flow.There was no flow, no explanations of anything that you would usually find in a book, no descrip- tions much or any of those sorts of things. An amazing book.When the maths prob- lemscameupIdidtrytodoacoupleof them and then skipped those. I felt very sorry for dad. How do you explain to this child that mother has left? I think it was very sad that dad did what he did but I felt so sorry for him, I don’t blame him for anything. He had such a lonely life. It was a very sad book and I think the system needs to be looked at if these sort of people can’t get help. And of course it’s only a story. Probably the most traumatic part was the train station.That was an amazing piece of literature. I had goose-pimples reading it. I liked the book toward the end I must say. ‘Like’ is not quite the right word. I don’t like it, I won’t read it again. I think it was very brilliant and I think Mark Haddon’s extraordinarily clever; he deserved every award he got for the book. 7 out of 10. MAGGIE I found it absolutely fascinating. I guess because I have a cousin whose son has this problem and also the son of a very close friend appears to have a prob- lem. Apparently these children lack imag- ination. I think what is so good about the book is that the author was able to show all the facets of the syndrome so readily. Although it’s very sad the life Christopher had, he didn’t look upon it that way because he doesn’t know how we feel. He doesn’t know the feeling of love as we would know it and perhaps the feeling of rejection as we would know it, so he is in his own world. I enjoyed the book. Mark Haddon wrote it brilliantly. Actually I can’t say I enjoyed the book, more I found it fasci- nating but it was sad in a lot of ways. 8outof10. JOAN B I thought the use of diagrams and illustrations was brilliant and made it really different. And the staccato style, and chapter headings were quite original and very different. One of the things that struck me was that there was no transference of understanding or knowledge in any social situation. He had to learn step by step how to behave in every situation. He was all focussed on the littler finer points and the overall scheme of things got lost. The humour lightened it a little bit so you didn’t get too bogged down.The ending seemed to happen a bit too quick- ly and too neatly; a very minor criticism. Haddon must have done a lot of research to get into the mind of someone with this disorder. A very good book to read, a very important book to read so we understand a little bit.We don’t as a society cope very well with people who aren’t ‘normal’. 7½ out of 10. JOAN P When I finished the book and chatted to Penny I said I hadn’t enjoyed it much. I certainly got a lot out of it, I’ve lear nt a lot about Asperger’s. But I’ve been thinking about it over the last few days and it’s really grown on me because you start thinking of the relationships. I’ve changed my opin- ion of it as I’ve thought more deeply about it. And of course you’re realis- ing all the time that it was written from Christopher’s point of view, but I hadn’t actually enjoyed the writing as I was reading it. But looking back on it, it now seems more intriguing. 7outof10. PENNY The great thing about coming last is that everyone has said all the inter- esting and important things so I don’t have to say very much. I really loved this book. I thought it was beautifully written and I thought it was very convincing in all the aspects – dialogue, characterisation, story and setting. In lots of the books I read I find the dialogue disappointing but that wasn’t the case here. Like Rosie I re- read the book and I enjoyed it as much the second time around. I really wanted to know how Christopher was going to go about solving the mystery and the progression of the story really sustained my interest. I thought the ending was sat- isfying and quite credible. I think Mark Haddon has given me, like a lot of other people have said, an insight into another person’s world that’s very different from my world. I like that we were left with hope, weren’t feeling very depressed or really down.The book finished on an up note and I felt there was hope Christopher could go and find a future and maybe be happy in his future. 9 out of 10. Share your opinions and thoughts with our readers by becoming our Reading Group of the Month. If you are successful, we’ll provide each member of your group with a free copy of a specially selected title and publish an edited version of your discussion. To register, simply fill out the card on page 45 and mail to: Good Reading, GPO Box 3835, Sydney NSW 2001, or register your group online at www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au Would you like to be our Reading Group of the Month? reading group (l-r) Judy, Diana, Maggie, Rosie, Joan B, Margaret, Penny, Joan P and Kay.