I graduated, indirectly thanks to DWJ!

Anna Clare McDuff amcduff at math.sunysb.edu
Wed Jun 11 04:16:35 EDT 2003

On Tue, 10 Jun 2003, Denise DeGraf wrote:

> Okay, so I know that it's relatively nothing on this list, but -- I just
> got confirmation that I have officially graduated from U.C. Berkeley's
> English department!  Woohoo!


> DWJ aspect of this: I got top marks on my Senior Thesis on using fantasy
> literature as a tool for psychological healing in disadvantaged/disabled
> individuals, and used DWJ's works as examples.

	That's a really interesting thesis, I'd be interested to know more
about it, which books do you think are especially useful for healing?
I've often thought that a lot of DWJ can be very therapeutic, she manages
to deal with a lot of disturbing issues in the course of her books.

 If I hadn't read "Witch
> Week" as a kid, I might not have realized that being different, even if you
> are mistreated as a result, isn't necessarily a mark of inferiority and
> lacked the self-esteem to even *try* going to Berkeley given all of my
> disabilities.  (Most of my internal organs are severely
> defective/malformed, plus I'm autistic.  I've always adored DWJ because she
> is one of the few authors that writes exactly like an autistic such as
> myself thinks.)

	It occurs to me that you might really like a new book, just out in
the UK and in the process of being published later this month in the
States called The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime by Mark
Haddon. It's not a fantasy, it's published both as a YA mystery & an adult
literary novel, but the main character, who is both detective and
narrator, has Aspergers and I thought it gave a wonderful portrayal of the
autistic mind. It's all told from the point of view of 15 year old
Christopher as he sets out to emulate his hero, Sherlock Holmes, and write
a murder mystery of his own. He starts out investigating the slaying of
his neighbour's dog, and then he has to learn to live with the
consequences of the knowledge he gains.  Detection is a serious challenge
to him as he has enormous difficulties in filtering out irrelevant stimuli
and information and in understanding emotions, facial expressions,
metaphors and the like, but he gets on with the job as best he can, using
his intelligence to try to figure out what is going on, and he takes us
with him through his life. I thought it was a magnificent book, gripping,
funny, inspiring, a bit heartbreaking, and I really valued getting to see
the world through Christopher's eyes.


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