Resources: Review - The burden and the gift of Asperger's

Christopher Boone is a fifteen-year-old who is unlike "normal" people. He has Asperger's Syndrome, a social and communication disorder and a form of autism; he is a genius at maths, but lacks knowledge with people and social situations.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

He knows all the capitals of every country and every prime number up to 7,057, but doesn't understand facial expressions such as "confused", or "angry". When family friend Mrs. Shears' dog Wellington gets impaled on a garden fork Christopher gets wrongly accused. He is determined to find out who the true killer is.

Using the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes as his guide, he and his pet rat Toby set out to hunt for the dog killer, although his difficulties with people make his investigations complicated.

Problems arise when he uncovers his father's guilty secret; his mother, whom Christopher was told died of a heart attack in hospital, is alive and living in London.

He is forced to run away from his father and embark on a journey featuring new obstacles and encounters, which in turn bring new and frightening experiences. This is both funny and gripping, an amazing whodunnit mystery, which could keep any reader occupied for hours. The author is both witty and honest, and disarmingly frank, a subtle oxymoron, as the narrator doesn't know what these emotions mean.

The book shows that Asperger's Syndrome is a disorder; lots of symptoms are disabling, but it is also a gift. The story is both amusing and sad, a sharp contrast, and one that mirrors perfectly the life of someone with Asperger's.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an astounding read and an even better mystery story. One word of caution; this book contains some swearing and coarse language and may not be suitable for small children. This definitely doesn't spoil the book, but rather emphasizes key points, although some parents may find it offensive.

- Luke Jackson, 15, who has Asperger's Syndrome. He is the author of Freaks, Geeks and Asperger's Syndrome: A User Guide to Adolescence.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

By Mark Haddon

Jonathan Cape

Hardback

ISBN 0224063782

292pp £10.99

Paperback

ISBN 0099450259

288pp £6.99

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