The Curious Meeting of Three Strangers at a Bus Stop


Michiko Kakutani: (Walks up to a bus stop holding the book Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon.)
Greg Olear: Excuse me, have you read that book.
Michiko: Why yes I have. I recommend that you read it too.
Greg: Ha! Unfortunately, I have. That book is utter trash!
Michiko: I beg your pardon? I happen to think that Mark Haddon does a great job in his portrayal of the main protagonist and constructs a plot that we can all learn from.
Greg: You’re clearly delusional lady! My kid has Asperger’s and this book is about the worst thing that can happen for his future. It perpetuates so many negative stereotypes about kids like him. I’ve done my research on this guy and he ain’t no expert. He even says so himself in a blog I read. None of the “aspie” critics think it’s accurate either!
William Schofield: Somebody needs a chill pill. Says under breath.
Greg: Excuse me?! You got something to say pal?
William: Well…um…actually I-I’ve actually read that book as well. And to-uh agree with the lady here, I thought it was pretty interesting.
Greg: Who asked you anyway.
William: Actually, you just did sir.
Greg: Listen, you don’t know what it’s like to be a father who has to not only worry about your kid who has a disorder but also the way people are gonna treat him because of this book.
William: You’re right. I don’t. But I do have Asperger’s syndrome and I think that Haddon’ s portrayals are pretty accurate. Although Haddon only ever mentions Christopher as having “some disability”, I can resonate with the character.
Michiko: I agree with you kid. I don’t think Haddon is claiming to be an expert here, but he’s showing that he sympathizes with the character and this novel may be an attempt to understand the disorder a little better.
William: Exactly.
Greg: Forget you both! No one cares what you two think anyway! My son now has to live with the damage done by Haddon’s book and that’s that. Walks to other side of bus stop.
William: Poor guy. He must be taking the news of his son having Asperger’s pretty badly.
Michiko: Yeah

I especially wanted to write about Greg Olear and William Schofield because they contrasted so well. Olear’s tone made it seem like he was yelling through his entire review and it was clear that he only began to really care about Haddon’s novel after the diagnosis of his son with Asperger’s. Schofield was the perfect contender because he has Asperger’s just like Olear’s son. This contrast really made me think about Murray and how he argues that all autistic people are individuals and therefore experience the disorder differently. While many of the critics that Olear mentions do not think Haddon gives an accurate portrayal of people with Asperger’s, Schofield does. He also does so in a somewhat objective way, by making a comparison specifically about having “some kind” of disability. This shows that Haddon’s novel is subjective and may resonate with some while rebounding off others.




3 thoughts on “The Curious Meeting of Three Strangers at a Bus Stop”

  1. Hi Asheka! I loved your dialogue. I can imagine this kind of exchange taking place at a bus stop, especially in New York. I agree that Olear was low-key “yelling” in his article. He sounded profoundly pissed (I apologize for my use of vernacular, but I’ve been exposed for too long!). He claims a position of authority as a parent of a child with autism. The polite stance of the actual autistic child almost gets lost amongst the arguing of he well-meaning outsiders. Does Schofield’s opinion count for more? Should it? He is one person with one experience, but I guess he is her actual expert, as he knows his disorder from the inside, and can tell people how well this book by an outsider does at representing Schofield, and possibly other people with autism spectrum disorders. Great conversation! I’m glad I wasn’t there! Be well.

  2. Asheka I love your dialogue with all the authors and their feelings towards Haddon’s book! I also wrote about Kakutani and Olear and this is exactly how I’d picture them casually discussing the novel. Kakutani wasn’t as headstrong as Olear, but I try to understand Olear’s fixed opinion since he is personally invested due to his son having Asperger’s. Overall a great portrayal of each author’s views!

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