Can we really be mad?

The review by By MICHIKO KAKUTANI seems to be complete and utter crap. I’m sorry but there is no educated way to say that….

He seems to be upset at the fact that the book lacks love, romance, conflict, pretty much anything we’re typically used to seeing in a book. He says, “In choosing to make Christopher his narrator, Mr. Haddon has deliberately created a story defined and limited by his hero’s very logical, literal-minded point of view. The result is a minimalistic narrative.” Really? In choosing the make Christopher his narrator Haddon allows a perspective to be explored that we hear such little from. We’re too consumed with the 50 shades and the twilight saga to wrap our heads around other types of writing.

“Christopher’s inability to lie about the events he is recounting and his inability to sentimentalize his actions or the actions of others lend the story a visceral, stripped-down power, an understated precision that enables the author to talk about the big issues of love and mortality and loss without sounding maudlin or trite.”

I thought this was disgusting to read from his review as well… “his inability to lie about the events he is recounting…” Uhm okay? I think that’s what makes Christopher’s character so unique. When he’s being questioned by the police in the beginning, although they bagger him with questions, his first instinct isn’t to lie because he knows what it looks like isn’t what it looks like…he’s consistently honest and allows us to deem him a reliable narrator.

Personally this guys review doesn’t even make me fear not getting a job anymore. But anywayssss…..

The second review I’m looking at is “When Popular Novels Perpetuate Negative Stereotypes: Mark Haddon, Asperger’s and Irresponsible Fiction”

It kind of bothered me… especially since we discussed in our last class that Autism isn’t a universal thing—meaning different people show different symptoms. “When you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism” if i remember correctly. But it bothered me because of this one particular line, “I’ve come to see what an inaccurate picture of Asperger’s Curious Incident paints.” It seems to me that even if this was a non-fiction instead of a fiction —which i think the author of this review seems not to realize—the reviewer dismisses the symptoms that Christopher demonstrates. You can’t just simply say the depiction is inaccurate especially because no two cases are the same.

Furthermore, I think the other reviewers claims

“Stereotyped, inaccurate, horribly offensive… this isn’t how it is.” “Haddon does not understand Asperger.” “Stereotypical view of an autistic child.” “I find it hard to believe that Mark Haddon is an autism expert, because Christopher Boone isn’t like any other child with Asperger’s that I’ve ever met.” “A major disservice to the Autistic Community.” “An excellent portrayal of autism…NOT!”

are more upset at the fact that they think Haddon makes this novel out to be an over exaggeration of what Autism is. With such a delicate—and new topic—such as Autism there just isn’t a “right” way to talk about it.

By Haddon’s own admission he didn’t do any research on the topic, however, this is a fiction so imagination is free to run its course here. Because the subject is a touchy one writing a fiction on it maybe wasn’t the best choice, but I mean can we really say anything?

The author of this review makes a good point though, whether or not he knows anything about the subject really doesn’t matter at this point because now people will believe what they will about the subject because of his book. It kind of teeters on a fine line here and I’m not sure whether I’m mad at him for the stereotypes now associated with Autism or if I don’t blame the guy because the book is a fiction.

2 Comments so far

  1.    on November 1st, 2016

    I agree with you that I can’t convince myself to fully side with Olear. I understand his anger that Haddon didn’t do any research, even if it is fiction, because it is still written in a realistic style. It seems the least he could have done was look up a few examples of Aspergers or Autism before writing a novel revolving around it. Or even any neurodivergent person since his book is supposedly not about Aspergers…

    Also I read the line about his “inability to lie” as a positive thing. The sentence goes on to say that it gives the author a stripped-down power to talk about the bigger issues. You make a good point though, the word inability suggests that someone with Aspergers is missing something vital.

    It’s a bit strange that lying is considered neurotypical and so important to us. But then I’m not sure what to make of Chris calling metaphors lies because they’re not literally true.

  2.   Kelly Santana on November 2nd, 2016

    These reviews have me feeling really confused about how to feel. I agree with you about Olear. After reading his review for the first time, I pretty much tossed his remarks out of hand. Yes, Haddon could’ve done more research, but like you said, autism is different in every person! You can’t look at someone who has a different form of Autism and say, “Yeah that’s wrong. Your form of autism is false.” And I know this is fiction and Christopher isn’t real, but there are those like Schofield, who say they can relate to the character in many different ways.
    So who are we to say Christopher’s symptoms are inaccurate? Author’s who add “controversial topics” into their novels will always get negative feedback. No matter what. Someone will be unhappy about something. And they’ll always be accused of stereotyping in some form. I think this is just another example.
    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your post!

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