Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Ruby Reviews: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time; the book and the West End show.

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, college has just started and I was a little bit inundated with homework and various other things. However, I’ve got a little bit of time now, so I thought I would do another ‘Ruby Reviews’

‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ is a book I’d been hearing about for a long time. It had quite a substantial presence on the internet, and a few people I knew had read it, but other than that I’d not thought much about it. However, suddenly I’d seen that it had been turned in to a show and everyone was raving about it. Whenever I went up to London, the postersfor itwere everywhere and it just seemed like everyone was talking about it. It eventually became one of those things that I really wanted to see/read but just never got round to it. Then finally, I managed to see it whilst upin London in August, and felt I needed to reach the book straight afterwards.
Despite the fact that I saw the show first, I feel I should talk about the book mainly, so everything makes sense, but I’ll slip my opinions in for the show when I can.

‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’ is a book written by Mark Haddon. It’s essentially the story of Christopher, who is 15 years old, and is believed to have Aspergers despite it never being fully mentioned within the book. When his neighbour’s dog is murdered, he goes on a search for the murderer and ends up finding out a lot more than he was first looking for. I won’t say what, as that would spoil it for anyone who wants to read it.

The book is written from Christopher’s point of view in first person, and Haddon captures the voice of Christopher remarkably well. As I previously mentioned, you can tell that Christopher has Aspergers or a similar condition from the get go, and this is due to Haddon’s incredible writing. Aspergers is a condition that is not often written about, and there are very few Aspergers characters in books. So for Haddon to have written a book where the main character has this condition is incredible enough let alone being able to write from the point of view. He captures the mindset very well by showing the confusion and straight forward-ness of Christopher’s character. He clearly has done an astonishing amount of research before writing, to prefect this character and to make sure the reader can really understand Christopher’s thoughts.

This was also expressed in a beautiful way within the show. The show was a very modern and technical one, with lighting and music being a huge influence, more so than in any other show I’ve seen. They used lighting and sound in a way to make us feels if we were inside Christopher’s mind. For example, one part of Christopher’s personality is that he doesn’t like being physically handled by anyone, and when he does, he lashes out. Whenever this occurred in the show, the lighting would flash intensely, with a white noise sound playing, as if to make the audience feel uncomfortable so they can really empathises with how Christopher’s mind is at these points in time. It works very well, and personally, I found it amazing.

Another thing I found great, which I love in any book, was the complexity of the characters. I hate it when there are specified ‘bad guys’ and ‘good guys’, and I think that when there are, its perhaps because the author couldn’t really be bothered to delve deep in to the characters. The characters I’m really referring to in ‘A curious incident of the dog in the night-time’ are Christopher’s mother and father. At first, it seems very black and white, but as the story deepens, the good-ness and bad-ness of both characters becomes very complicated, but not in a way where it becomes difficult to read. Also, Hodden beautifully shows the struggles of having a child with Christopher’s condition, which can be a touchy subject for many people. However, he does it in almost a comforting way, in order not to cause offense, which I think is very clever.

This was expressed incredibly well by the actors in the show. I thought they were incredible actors and presented the parts so well. It’s rare you get an actor who represents the characters you build in your head so well, but the casting really was incredible. So, I’d recommend going to see the show whilst Nicholas Tennant (Christopher’s father) and Mary Stockley (Christopher’s mother) are still in it, because they really are amazing actors.

If this were any other book, I’d probably comment on the simplicity of the language, because I’ll be honest, the language used was very basic. However, as it is from the point of view of Christopher, this can be excused. I believe the language is probably intentionally simplified, to put across Christopher’s voice in the best way possible. So, the basic-ness of the language can definitely be excused, as it helps the telling of the story.

Other than the minor language thing, I really don’t have anything negative to say. The book is very well written and the show is very well cast. The book is an easy read and easy to understand, yet the story is riveting and you really don’t want to put the book down. I literally read it in a day, after being so excited after watching the show.

So yeah, basically, read the book and see the show! They’re both great in my opinion, which makes for a pretty boring review.

Lots of love,

RubyLauren xx

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