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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I finished reading "The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time" a couple  of hours back. I wanted to let others who have not read the book yet know a few  of my thoughts:

(1) The book is about a mentally challenged boy. It is nurrated by the boy himself  in first person, so it does not mention explicitly that the boy has special needs, but  you are given to pick that up as you read.
(2) The chapters of the book are numbered in prime numbers. Unlike all books,  where chapters are numbered serially like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...and so on, this book has  prime numbers for the chapters, like 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11 ...and so on, which is kind of  interesting.
(3) If you are a programmer, there is a lot in common that you will find between  the boy Christopher and yourself.
(4) All the time I was reading the book, I felt compassionate towards the boy. If  you are too sensitive, please do not read this book. Your heart will bleed tearfully.
(5) If you have had a childhood drama/trauma, or have lived away from your  parents, or have lost your parents early in life, or your parents have seperated, or  there is any kind of a childhood pattern that comes to you now, long after the  cause of the pattern occuring in your childhood, please do not touch this book. It  will tear you down. You won't read it in one year, let alone one night.
(6) At some places, the book reads like Joel's writing, when he condescends down  to layman alley to crystalize things. It felt nice. I thought a lot about this forum  while reading the book, I don't know why. May be because of the simple prose  the author has used. It read more like this guy's post on this thread.
(7) The book carries an implicit reminder that simplicity is the best.
(8) I related to a lot of traits this child has. I liked many of the parts in the book those are brought up. For example, he says he doesn't like to talk to strangers. And I don't like to do that too. I mean I don't like to talk to people I already do not know. Not like I don't "like to", but I felt sort of run out of memory if I just bumped into a complete stranger and a conversation started. I never could bring out the reason into words as to why it was this way. He does it in this book. He says we don't like to talk to strangers, not because of anything else but because they are new into your life and to record information about anything new in your brain disrupts the flow of the information that is already running through your brain. I just relate to that very well. I am sure many programmers do and that quite explains why people say programmers lack social skills. It's because what we deal with everyday is far too complicated and we have the responsibility of leading a mundane life along with crunching all those logic circuits in our brains.

Some descriptions I liked very much because I can relate to them are here:

From Chapter 37 (which is chapter 13 actually, because the chapters are prime-numbered)

I do not tell lies. Mother used to say that this was because I was a good person.  But it is not because I am a good person. It is because I can't tell lies.

Mother was a small person who smelt nice.

A lie is when you say something happened which didn't happen. But there is only  ever one thing which happened at a particular time and a particular place. And  there are an inifinite number of things that did not happen at that time and that  place. And if I start thinking about somethig which didn't happen, I start thinking  about all the other things that didn't happen.

For example, this morning for breakfast, I had Ready Brek and some hot raspberry milkshake. But if I say that I actually had Shreddies and a mug of tea, I start thinking about Coco-pops and lemonade and porridge and Dr.Pepper and how I wasn't eating my breakfast in Egypt and there wasn't a rhinoceros in the room and Father wasn't wearing a driving suit and so on and even writing this makes me feel very shaky and scared, like I do when I am standing on the top of a very tall building and there are thousands of houses and cars and people below me and my head is so full of all these things that I am afraid I am going to forget to stand up straight and hang onto the rail and I am going to fall over and be killed.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Thursday, September 2, 2004

Still scary, Sathyaish ! ;-)

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Who/what is scary? I do not understand.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Thursday, September 2, 2004

This post is about a mentally challenged boy

Thursday, September 2, 2004

... And movie rights have already been purchased by Brad Pitt, so if you don't want to read it, wait for the film!  (seriously)

Thursday, September 2, 2004


I am so tired of the endless categorization of programmers as some kind of mentally aberrant group.

Look, I and none of the people in my team play D & D, we can all, well except for one, can carry on a normal conversation, 4 out of 6 are married, etc etc.

We just have a special talent.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

I'm a programmer.  Most people aren't.  I'm left handed.  Most people aren't.  I've lived my entire life as a person outside the "norm" of society.  Heck, I even play D&D.  But you know what?  I honestly don't care how or even if people classify me.

Aaron F Stanton
Thursday, September 2, 2004

Bah, there are two kinds of people, those who categorize and those who don't.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Your last long sentence was scary.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Nyet, there are two kinds of people, those who eat lemons, and those who copulate with walruses.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

>copulate with walruses.

Uh, I ate a lemon once. :-)

Thursday, September 2, 2004

The last paragraph was a quote from the book, so who was being scary?

Simon Lucy
Friday, September 3, 2004

>Look, I and none of the people in my team play D & D, we can all, >well except for one, can carry on a normal conversation, 4 out of 6 >are married, etc etc.

>We just have a special talent.

I'm a very good driver.

Friday, September 3, 2004

Xela, can't I do both?

Jimmy Jo-jo
Friday, September 3, 2004

Now, I didn't mean that all programmers were imbecile OCDs dribbling saliva out of their mouths and making groaning sounds if they didn't like something. Otherwise, all the PDCs and TechEdge's would have wet seats. I just meant that at one level or another, you can relate to the boy's dilemma. I do.

>his post is about a mentally challenged boy

What would have been a better description? Or rather what is wrong with that description? Please! No, seriously. Tell me.

>... And movie rights have already been purchased by Brad Pitt, so if you don't want to read it, wait for the film!  (seriously)


>Your last long sentence was scary.

You mean point number 8? Yeah, I just wrote that text in a hurry when I was in the middle of writing point number 3 and then when I finished writing till point 7, I numbered that para 8. And I've farted all over the place I can smell. But then, it's just a post.

However, if you're talking about the very last sentence in the post, it was an excerpt from the book, as Simon Lucy pointed out.

In any case, you'd be helping me if you told me what was scary about the writing, so I could think the next time before writing.

One question: How does Joel get to know about all the nice books before everyone else?

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Friday, September 3, 2004

> movie rights have already been purchased by Brad Pitt

He won't even have to act.

Friday, September 3, 2004

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