By Erika Berger
If you’ve ever watched and enjoyed the insight of a video on YouTube that lets you see how the brain of someone with ADHD works, then this novel by Mark Haddon is perfect because it has a very similar and interesting concept. The protagonist and narrator is 15-year-old Christopher who is writing a book about the murder of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington.
Christopher is autistic and explains the situation from his perspective. He tells the reader about his take on life and the things that happen in life in a way that is unfamiliar to us, but is how it has always been for him. For instance, Christopher explains to the reader that if he sees five red cars in a row on his way to school, then the day will be a Super Good Day. This sounds cute and gives us a way to see the world from his eyes, but I just couldn’t shake one question from my mind: How is it statistically possible to see five red cars in a row? He says that seeing three red cars in a row will make it a Quite Good Day, but even that’s a push because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen three red cars all drive by one after the other.
You might be thinking that my comment on the probability of seeing that many red cars is irrelevant to the review, but throughout my reading, I just couldn’t get his system out of my brain. Christopher states that if he sees four yellow cars in a row, it will be a Black Day, where he doesn’t talk to anyone or eat any food. He hates all things yellow and brown so that gives us an explanation, but yellow cars aren’t as common as you would think.
Despite my personal existential dilemma with red and yellow cars, this novel was written beautifully. The way Mark Haddon took on an autistic narrative was clean and honest. It was not overdone with too much research or confusing explanations, and there were added drawings and math equations that made the read fun and easy (the math problems were difficult but the words weren’t).
There was a Broadway play done based on this novel that ran from September 2014 until September 2016 so unfortunately the play is closed, but the novel is available for your reading pleasure.