My second year of college, I took a class in experience design. One particular week we had a guest lecturer who warned us of “The Curse of Knowledge”. The idea is that those with a certain knowledge of a subject have a bias that prevents them from understanding the perspective of those without it. Imagine a person with a song stuck in their head. They spend the whole day tapping out a rhythm with their fingers and that rhythm sounds unmistakably like the song they hear. However, to you, me and the rest of the world, that rhythm could be any number of things and holds no significant value to us.
The vast majority of us go through life blissfully unaware of that curse. We take advantage of the fact that we can think and function by the same rules as most other people. It takes no conscious effort on our part to read emotions, default to standard social norms or pick up new slang (i.e. “on fleek”). We all hear that song in our heads.
For those like the autistic 15-year-old Christopher Boone, those rules aren’t innate. He operates on an entirely different set of logic and has to manually translate all the overwhelming information around him into something he can process. Nonetheless, Christopher proves to be remarkably intelligent, brave and endearing as a hero. The novel starts off as Christopher’s adventure in solving a local mystery, but quickly evolves into a journey in which he learns to navigate his family problems and the world on his own.
I’m finding that my favorite novels are ones with the simplest language. Less is more right? Christopher as a narrator is quirky and smart-definitely not one for fluff paragraphs. It makes this novel a quick and easy read with plenty of humor, heart-warming moments and a whole lot of perspective. Pick it up if you get a chance.
*I am not a fan of numerically rating novels. It’s difficult to put such different books on a singular scale. However! I know it makes a difference to a reader deciding what to pick up next, so I’ll be adding these ratings as just a footnote from now on.