San Francisco

Posted at Sep 4, 2007 8:13 pm

My husband and I are flying to ‘Frisco tomorrow for a conference.   Never been to west coast before – really looking forward to it.  Mom is babysitting kids.
I just finished Haddon’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time which is a pseudo-mystery novel written from the perspective of an autistic 15-year old boy. I loved it- but I think the reader has to have at least a passing acquaintance with this disorder in order to truly appreciate the book. The appendix is several pages of random mathematical formulas and equations and there are doodles of cows and orangutans in the middle of one chapter.   My only criticism is that the author decided to use the autistic child’s voice to declare his own atheistic beliefs. I don’t take issue with the man’s beliefs- I just didn’t think it worked in this particular book.
    The kid is on a train trying to “escape” from his father and find his mother who left him two years ago. He is bewildered and frightened, has wet his pants because he couldn’t figure out that there is a bathroom one carriage down and in the middle of running from a policeman and crouching beneath a suitcase shelf he inserts a random chapter about how illogical it is to believe in God.   I know that the author has worked with autistic kids and I found myself wondering if he was ever able to engage a child like that in a theological discussion. I’ve also worked with autistic kids- and they don’t think too hard about abstract concepts. They are far too concrete.   A child with Asperger’s might be able to discuss God with you, but the boy narrating this book was much too far along the PDD spectrum to make any real comments on the subject. Writers need to leave their personal agendas (and religions) at the door when they sit down at their typewriters. 

I started and stopped Middlemarch .  Again.  Woe is me. I just hate Dorothea Brooke. How can I keep reading?   I’ll have to content myself with a knowledge of most of Eliot’s books and  look sheepish when someone asks me about her most famous novel.  Ah well

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