Random House, Children’s Books, 2003; 272 pages
I spent my last 10 Australian Dollars on this book, just before I took my flight back to Manila. I know its worth spending your last cent and dollar on this book because I have been reading and hearing about this book long before I finally got the chance to have it.
It is an easy read, as it is a book for young adults. Fast readers can consume this book in a matter of just a couple of hours, but I wanted to prolong it because I didn’t want the story to be finished so soon. (Rightly commented by The Observer, ‘Gave me that rare, greedy feeling of: this is so good I want to read it all at once but I mustn’t or it will be over too soon’.)
15 year old Christopher Boone lives in Swindon with his father. But he is no ordinary 15 year old. He is extremely intelligent, with a liking for prime numbers, and solving difficult mathematical equations. He also only recognizes 2 emotions: Happy and Sad. He cannot fathom how there can be emotions in between. He cannot tell any lies, and he does not understand metaphors. He does not like people or places that are unfamiliar to him. He wants everything planned and organized. He does not like to be touched, and does not like his food touching each other.
He does not consider himself ‘not normal’ though, and thinks that everyone is a ‘Special Needs’ person. One night, his life takes a turn as he discovers his neighbor’s dog murdered with a fork. Christopher decides to embark on an investigation to find out who murdered Wellington the dog.
As he sets forth on his search for the dog murderer, Christopher discovers a whole lot more than just who killed the dog. His adventure takes him as far as reaching London on his own, and in the end, he gets a renewed courage and confidence as he discovers that there are a lot more things that he is capable of.
Christopher manages to face both his inability to be ‘normal’ and the pressures of a broken family. When ‘normal’ people breakdown at the onset of a broken home, this book shows that Christopher, a ‘not so normal’ person considered by society, faces his dilemmas with a beautiful determined and non-fatalistic attitude.
I initially thought that this book would be a sort of “Forrest Gump Junior” story, but its far more than just a simple person/great success story. This book is really deserving of being a Whitbread Book of the Year. Young people and adults alike can learn a lot from this book—both about being a ‘special person’ and believing in yourself.