Follow TV Tropes
I found this book extremely fascinating and well-written, doing an excellent job of giving the reader an insight into Christopher's thought process and his attempts to live life by his self-imposed rules. The numerous diagrams and side notes make for an interesting departure from the more typical page layout. Taken for what it is (a fictional work of literature), I found this book unique and absorbing.
That said, there has been a disturbing tendency in some circles to think of this book as more than that, to consider this book either a diagnostic tool or a definitive guide to what anybody with autism is like in real life, even though the author has gone on record saying that Christopher does not have a specific condition and that the author actually did more research on the London Underground than he did on ASD conditions (Note: I have Asperger's myself, and while I do see a significant amount of myself in Christopher, there is also a great amount of traits that we do not have in common). Conversely, there have also been autistic groups claiming that Christopher is one of them (even though the author said he isn't) and who have gone as far as demanding that an autistic actor play Christopher in the play.
If you're on the fence about reading this book I, would recommend it, but do keep in mind just what this book is (and isn't).
This is a book about child abuse, where the abusers never get their comeupance. Christopher – well, maybe Haddon though he wrote an autistic character, I don't know. The fact is he is written more as a psychopath.
One clue that he is not autistic is on the first page, where he supposedly has a meltdown where he stims, but he is totally lucid the whole time. His narration makes it sound as though he is in control the whole time, which indicates that he is not having a meltdown, but is just acting.
You might have thought it was a social commentary on how people get misdiagnosed because psychologists believe in stereotypes. Maybe if Christopher hadn't been so fond of maths no one would have mislabelled him as autistic. Maybe someone would have realized that his antisocial behaviour was due to childhood abuse and neglect at the hands of his clearly mentally ill mother, and later his father who shows no signs of mental illness himself.
Or perhaps it could be interpreted as sociopathy running in the family, whether genetic or not, from the father to the son. But since the author and publisher insist that it's autism, it is just a book further stigmatizing autistic people while pretending to help.
...but within four chapters I had to abandon book. This isn't a story about an autistic boy. It's a story about a rude, uncouth boy with a label pasted on his forehead.
I have Asperger's Syndrome. I went through seven years of school with people with varying degrees of mental retardation and autism-spectrum disorder. This brat doesn't resemble a single one of them in any degree. He's a poor rip-off of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man in kid form.
It makes the book impossible to read. I didn't even get into the plot proper because the setup was so obnoxious I wanted to burn the book. (I would have if it weren't a library book.)
When Tropic Thunder said "Never go full retard", they weren't talking about novels. This is a wasted opportunity on a truly sad scale.
Community Showcase More
How well does it match the trope?