Mark Haddon (no significant spoillers)

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Tue Feb 17 00:45:45 EST 2004

On Sun, 15 Feb 2004 22:21:42 +0000, minnow at wrote:

>My feeling was simply that TCIOTDITNT didn't *go* anywhere, nor take me
>anywhere much.  I mean, things got discovered and learnt and achieved, but
>it didn't seem to have led to anything in particular. 

It struck me that this was particularly apt given the nature of autism, in
which progression almost doesn't exist--at least as far as the rest of us
are concerned.  I have twin cousins who are autistic, and although they are
not nearly as high-functioning as the protagonist of this book, their
fundamental behavior is the same: they like things to be the same always,
and extra stimulus is painful and disorienting.  I can't say reading the
book was particularly enjoyable, but it seemed an accurate glimpse of a very
strange world.

I haven't read Elizabeth Moon's book, so I can't say whether she does a
better job or not, but I can say that Haddon's portrayal of his protagonist
was incredibly accurate.  Asperger's Syndrome affects people in
different...degrees of intensity, sort of, makes them more or less able to
cope with "normal" society, so it's not terribly meaningful to say that one
author gets it righter than another.  I imagine Moon's characterization is
influenced by her being the mother of an autistic child, which is different
from Haddon's perspective as someone who worked very closely with such

One thing that bugged me a little was that Haddon's book was shelved in the
YA section, and it seems a lot more like an adult book to me.  Next thing
you know they're going to stick _To Kill a Mockingbird_ in there just
because the protagonist is a kid....

Melissa Proffitt

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