Monday, 4 February 2013

Review: Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz

In One Line:  Curious Incident meets FUN.

Genre: Sherlock Holmes investigates the American high school.

The Gist:

Colin Fischer has Aspergers Syndrome. You may recognise this condition from that little known book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. Well Colin is rather more highly functioning than the narrator in that book, but still all sorts of kooky. He’s also rather awesome. He has awesome parents that work for NASA, a not-quite-so-awesome brother, and a particularly awesome fascination with the world’s greatest masters of logic: Sherlock Holmes (of Sherlock Holmes fame), Data and Spock (of Star Trek fame) and John Grisham (of CSI fame). So when a gun goes off during lunch time at school, Colin is pretty much the perfect person to figure out who fired it! 

The Cover:

I was drawn to this book before I even knew what it was about, because the cover is absolutely great. At first glance you go ‘Oh look! It’s a Geek!’ and then when you read the back you’re all like ‘an Aspergers Geek!’ which means you’re pretty much guaranteed for a great story (as this is what Curious Incident has taught us). In fact, I think the faceless face on the front looks a lot like Hank Green, and to be honest this makes me love the cover even more! 

Why You’ll Love This Book
  • Have you not been following until now? The protagonist has Aspergers! And literature of all kinds loves protagonists with Aspergers! 
  • Colin is amazing. He manages to be almost entirely emotionally devoid whilst at the same time absolutely wonderful. Maybe it’s the naivety, maybe it’s the sincerity, but whatever it is, I just want to give Colin a hug (although touching him is likely to make him scream). 
  • Research! These writers seem to know an awful lot about what they’re talking about. Packed with facts and intrigues, this is the kind of book that will set you off on all sorts of of mental tangents. One fact in particular that sent me straight to Wikipedia was the one about Tommy Westphall - MIND BLOWN.
Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • I kept thinking that this book would be more interesting in the first person, rather than the third. We do get point-of-view shifts when we get glimpses into Colin’s notebook, but then the shift back to third person POV becomes a little annoying, especially as the notebook entries are so fantastically enjoyable. But maybe this decision was to stop EVEN MORE comparisons with the Curious Incident.
  • The footnotes aren’t interesting enough. I love footnotes in a novel, as they generally tend to be brilliant (see John Green’s Abundance of Katherines), but the footnotes here just weren’t engaging enough. Many contained facts that I already knew, or didn’t contain a level of depth that I thought deserving of a footnote. Overall I just didn’t see the point of them here.
  • Colin’s parents are just a little bit too perfect. And I found that creepy. 
  • There’s an influx of characters at the beginning, and I found it really hard to keep track of who was who, but I guess there really aren’t any easy ways to describe high school classmates. Also, there’s a worrying lack of cultural diversity. 
The Hypersomnia Test:

Not enough gripping relationship drama to keep me hooked, but the footnotes and the notebook entries keep the writing pacey and fresh. Given the choice between reading and napping (not that I actually have a choice - when I need to nap I need to nap) I’m afraid that sleepytime wins.

Final Verdict:

It’s a little sad that this book will unfortunately always be in the shadow of that OTHER book about Aspergers, but this is lovely read. It’s not ground-breaking, it’s not going to set the world on fire, but as a debut from two bonified geeks, it reeks of promise. It’s a gentle read, aimed at a slightly younger audience to the one I’m used to reading for, and has its flaws, but overall I can’t deny that I greatly enjoyed this, and can’t wait to recommend it to young readers. 

Further Reading:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
Wonder by RJ Palacio (read my review HERE)
Holes by Louis Sachar

No comments:

Post a Comment