“Or sometimes, we are sad but we really don’t know why we are sad, so we say we aren’t sad but we really are.”

Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Haddon was born in 1962.

The Curious Incident was one of the first books I remember making a huge impact on me as a kid. Though I guess I wasn’t really a kid anymore when I first read it at 18.

I have to admit now, as I research this novel for writing this blog piece, a short story I wrote in 2005, The Daywatchman, might have been slightly influenced by Haddon’s writing. Clearly even back then I was very impressed with this novel.

I like this quote because it’s another one of those quotes I didn’t really get when I read it. I understood its meaning and what Haddon was conveying, but I hadn’t realised it. I didn’t have the maturity to grasp that concept, that I was also a human being who said I wasn’t sad when I was because I couldn’t really pinpoint why I was sad.

It’s funny, isn’t it? That we as a society feel like there must always be a clearly defined reason to be sad, otherwise we were not allowed to be sad. And having a clearly defined reason is difficult because our reasons are so subjective. How can we justify our feelings to another person who has no chance of truly understanding our experiences?

Haddon’s novel addressed this issue years before its contemporaries. There are so many novels (All the Bright Places and The Rosie Project are just a couple examples I’ve personally read) like The Curious Incident now that draw attention to the stigma towards Differences and how we as a society react to these differences. Maybe this is because it was the first book of its kind that I read, kind of like how we never forget our Firsts, but I find that none of its contemporaries have done as good a job as The Curious Incident.

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