Review : Curious Incident of the Dog in the night-time || Mark Haddon

Author : Mark Haddon
Genre : Young Adult
No. of Pages : 226
Publisher : Jonathan Cape // Random House

Ever since I read the Sherlock Holmes story Silver Blaze, I have had my eyes on this book. The book title is a classic holmesian line. It’s super vague, yet you are expected to have an epiphany when you hear it, but there you are, as clueless as Dr. Watson. So naturally, when I found this book I expected it to be intriguing. I *did*, but not quite in the way I imagined.

From what I’ve seen, this book has got really divided opinions. People either love it or hate it. And me, I’m not sure what to make of this book. It’s been a while since I read it – I let my thoughts stew for a while – still nothing. I don’t hate it but I didn’t love it either.

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I think this is the first book I’ve read that’s written from the perspective of a differently-abled person. The protagonist Christopher is a 15-year-old autistic kid. The writing style is simple and striking. The book begins as a journal of sorts where Christopher decides he has to solve the murder of his neighbour’s dog and document it. Since he likes numbers, the chapters are numbered with prime numbers. Ookay, quirky and clever.

As the story goes on, it turns out the mystery of the dog’s death wasn’t much of a mystery at all but in turn it leads to many startling revelations for Christopher forcing him to flee the safety of his home. This kid hates crowds and unknown places, he has never left his street alone before (other than to go to school, of course) and YET, he flees.

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What i liked blog picture

The book is basically about how this boy who likes his routine and his safe, sheltered life deals with the troubles with his parents and their day-to-day life. Since it’s written entirely from Christopher’s perspective, we know what’s going on and we also know that Christopher doesn’t really catch on to what’s happening in his family. The reader is a omniscient, powerless spectator. This book made me sad. Tricky, because since it made me feel things, I can’t really hate the book now!

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HOWEVER, as I mentioned earlier, Christopher likes numbers and shapes. He’s good at maths and I’m not. I don’t like maths. There were portions of the book where there’s a whole lot of shapes and numbers and MAPS (I’m bad at maths AND maps, okay? it’s a difficult life I live) and there’s an actual appendix with a derivation to a formula. I’m really glad to have those school days behind me, please don’t make me relive the horror! I’m not sure if we had to read ALL of that to really understand what’s going on inside Christopher’s head. It is possible to get the idea even without the superfluous maths and maps and shapes. So….yeah. I didn’t love the book either. I’ll just say this : I didn’t want to abandon the book at any point, nor do I regret reading it. It was an experience.

My rating : ★★★ neutral stars.

~ Mathangi.

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Review : Hello Me, It’s You by Hanna Todd

Author : Hanna Todd
Genre : Non-Fiction // Mental Health
No. of Pages : 112
Publisher : Self published

Hello Me, it’s You is a collection of letters by young adults aged 17-24 about their experiences with mental health issues. The letters are written to their 16-year-old selves, giving beautifully honest advice, insights, and encouragement for all that lies ahead of them, good or bad. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review (my thanks to the author)

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Synopsis : This book was produced by the Hello Me, it’s You charity, set up by the editor, Hannah. Hannah was diagnosed with depression and anxiety whilst at university and found comfort in talking to friends about their experiences, realising she was not alone in her situation. This inspired the idea for the charity and book. Through the creation of materials such as this, the charity aims to provide reassurance for young adults (and their families) who are experiencing mental health issues and give a voice to young adults on such an important topic. The result of that will hopefully be a reduction in the negative stigma surrounding mental health and an increase in awareness of young people’s experiences. All profits go the Hello Me, it’s You charity, for the production of future supportive books.


My Thoughts:

Even though I read this book in mid-2016 but I really wanted to write about it here, so here goes.

Hello Me, It’s You was exceptional. It was emotional and hard-hitting because it was all so real. For me, being in the age group of people who have contributed to this made it more emotional and easy to connect with.

As you may have gathered from the synopsis, this book is a compilation of letters written by a group of young adults, to their younger-selves about their mental health, their struggles, and how they overcome (or actively try to) the everyday challenges due their illness.

You must be responsible for your own happiness.

The letters discuss several alarmingly common yet deeply tabooed issues such as depression, anxiety, trichtillomania, dermatophagia, body-image issues such as bulimia, anorexia and so on. It is up-lifting and very, very important.

Help is out there, but it takes a brave soul to go and find it.

I wish mental health weren’t such a taboo in our society. You realise how an early diagnosis and the right kind of treatment and support can make a HUGE difference.

Never forget to take care of you.

It also made me realise how many things I would have liked to talk to my younger-self about. Anything to make poor 16-year-old-me feel less lonely and less alienated.

2016 was the year I came to terms with my several of own issues and I’m glad to say that this book helped me in the process. May 2017 be the year I finally face the monster and deal with the damned thing. That will make life more than a little easier for my future-self.

Nobody can change how you feel inside but yourself.

I always look for great take-away quotes in books I read. I have blockquoted the ones that stood out for me in this book. Let them be your dose of positivity today.

Thank you, Hannah Todd, for making people do this. It makes readers like me feel more normal to know that we have company. I also thank each and every person who contributed to this book. It CAN’T have been easy. Thank you.

As much as you say that you cannot and will not – I promise you, you can and you will.

~ Mathangi.

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