Moving right along in my personal reading challenge, I pulled a book off the shelf that had been sitting untouched for quite some time. I bought it because it was gaining tons of attention when it was published, but the one time I opened it to begin reading, I just couldn't retain interest. This time…I kept reading.
It seems to me that the book's popularity grew from the main character. I've heard many people who have read the book refer to him as autistic, and these days, autism is a hot topic. However, Mark Haddon has expressed on more than one occasion that his character, Christopher, is not necessarily autistic. In fact, he had done absolutely no research on autism or asperger's during the writing process. It made me reflect on how powerful words are and also the need for humans to relate to others on a level that is familiar. Art is beautifully naked just waiting for us to clothe it in our individual interpretations. While it is important, I think, to be aware of the artist's intent, what marks a true work of art is its ability to be appreciated by a myriad of eyes, ears, and imaginations - to become a part of our unique realities. In this way, this novel was a success.
Sorry to be a party popper, though, I wasn't blown away. I do think Mark Haddon has an interesting writing style, but I found myself wanting to know about the supporting characters. While I don't know that I will read another novel by Haddon, I am interested in reading his book of poetry, The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea. I'll be sure to let you know how I like it. :)