Thursday, 21 August 2014

Reading We Were Liars and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I needed to get back down to my usual self after reading serious books for grown-ups for a week. 

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Year after year, the Sinclair family spends their summers at their private island where cousins Cady, Johnny, Mirren and their friend Gat spend all their time together. They are known as The Liars. The story follows Cady, who returns back to her grandparents' island when she is eighteen for the first time since her accident two summers previously. She is reunited with the other Liars but quickly finds out that no one will tell her the truth about what actually happened... You're best off knowing as little as possible before reading this book.

There is a recipe for disaster when writing about boring characters (rich teenagers) with unoriginal love stories (rich teenager falls in love with the outsider, poor boy) but I think the dark and moody family relationships among the adults make up for the shallow love between Cady and Gat. I really didn't like the writing style (short, dramatic sentences) which obstructed the flow of the story and honestly, it just felt pretentious. Her way of describing other characters ("he was bounce, snark and effort") was presumably meant to be "deep" or metaphorical but it just made no sense to me. The mystery aspect of the story was great and I genuinely liked the ending but overall I was disappointed when I finished reading, especially considering the hype that this book has.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
When Christopher finds his neighbour's dog dead he decides to solve the mystery and use the plot when writing the story that his teacher has requested. This is because Christopher has trouble imagining things that haven't actually happened despite having an incredibly advanced understanding of maths and logic. However, finding out who the killer of Wellington is leads to a bigger mystery than he ever thought and soon his life has turned upside-down.

I absolutely loved this story. The narrator has some form of ASD (although there are no specific details about it) and reading a book from his point of view meant looking at things in an entirely different way. The difficulties when interacting with other people, such as not understanding metaphors, not being able to lie and not understanding jokes are few of the many issues that arise in the daily life and were fascinating to read about. The story is really about Christopher (and he is a charming character) but I never saw the "mystery" coming. I also found the book well-written and the characters were realistically flawed. This book was so good that I read it in one sitting and then I spent the next four days wanting to talk about it with everyone else. Read it.

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