A few years ago I was recommended a book entitled ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time’. It was written by Mark Haddon and follows the life of fifteen year old Christopher Boone who happens to be autistic. I am a huge fan of books generally and was really looking forward to reading it. We were going on holiday to Italy and I popped it straight into my hand luggage.
My brother is on the autism spectrum, so I was intrigued to read how Mark had created Christopher, was he like my younger brother? Did he portray autism in the right light?
Well, I absolutely loved reading Christopher’s story (and not just because I was reading it whilst sprawled across a bed in the Southern Italian sunshine!). Mark had composed the book beautifully.
Mark has created a wonderful character in Christopher. He is so lovable and relatable, yet also incredibly intriguing. I adore the way he thinks and his complete innocence with regards to the world. He is also very matter-of-fact and literal. His character is complex and enchanting. It’s not just Christopher who has had great thought put into his character development. All of the characters are wonderfully conjured up in a matter of such realism that they could actually be your neighbours.
The storyline is brilliantly gripping. Taking you in one direction before firing off in the next. It’s a slightly bumpy journey – the right kind of bumpy. Enough to keep you reassured that you are going somewhere without completely throwing you around like a cricket ball in the summer.
Needless to say I fell in love with this book. It wasn’t because of the relatability or the storyline, but simply in the writing. The voice that is given through the thin paper pages. The creation of Christopher’s life. The writing is simply awesome.
For me, I treat each book individually and even if I am head over heels with a book by an author, it doesn’t mean that I am automatically sold on their other work. Each book has been crafted a certain way and I’ll know almost immediately if it will make it onto my favourites list.
Obviously, I am not the only fan of Curious, and it has won many awards. Not to mention been transformed into an award winning play on Broadway and the West End. As a huge theatre fan, I know how hard it can be for a new play on the market. Many gems have closed early because of public reception. It’s a hard and fast business with huge overheads and sadly if it’s not a massive profit maker, it has to go. Thankfully, Curious has not fallen victim to a terrible fate of closure and is still going strong. We recently went to watch it at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End. My husband and I went with two friends. My husband and my bestie’s love both hadn’t read the book, so the play was a complete surprise to them. I was actually a bit worried because whilst I love the story and it is quite popular, I think that ultimately you will either get it or despise it. Fortunately, we all loved it!
Obviously, there are many differences between the book and the play, but the play works flawlessly as it’s own entity. The set is mind blowing with such articulation and creativity. It’s simple, yet full of surprises. The stylistic approach to choreography is exceptional and of course the actors are wonderful. I was fortunate enough to be sat in a ‘prime number’ seat and my name translated into a ‘prime number’, so I won a free badge. Cheers Chris! The way the play is constructed brings the audience into Christopher’s mind and allows you to really be present.
With regards to how Mark Haddon has portrayed autism, he’s done a fabulous job. The way in which he draws attention to how Christopher is treated and how he thinks is brilliant and I am glad that he managed to highlight how people aren’t always so understanding. Although this is terribly sad, it reminds us that we are all human and allows us to be reflective.
In case you hadn’t gathered, I would highly recommend Curious for both an evening out or an evening in!