I have been reading a book with a curiously childish cover but a range of emotions that are both familiar to me and completely unknown. The journey inside the mind of a boy who lacks the capacity to lie, to read the emotions in others, to tolerate anything unfamiliar, or allow himself be touched, even by his father; is the subject of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.
It seems familiar because I have been a teacher and a mother. At the same time it feels unknown because my knowledge of children with autism spectrum disorders has been limited by the school day; I have not known what a child like Christopher does about television or food or a neighbour’s dead dog.
I read it at one sitting, and I think teachers should read it as part of their learning process while parents should read it because anything that helps one become better at parenting can only be better for humankind in the long run.
The book is full of Christopher’s voice saying things that children that do not know how to lie say. A lot of them make far more sense to me than what I have come to believe from my wise, nearly fifty years old mindset. And that is not something I often say.
“I like dogs. You always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk.”
Christopher John Francis Boone