The joy of reading has always been the ability to experience a new perspective, by seeing through the eyes of another. These two novels take characters that see the world very differently from the norm can challenge us to examine ourselves anew.
Mark Haddon’s bitterly funny debut novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is a murder mystery of sorts. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is mathematically gifted and socially hopeless. When his neighbor’s poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer, making for an novel that is touching, funny and ironic.
The action in The Lottery centers on how winning a $12-million lottery jackpot complicates the life of 32-year-old Perry L. Crandall, with an IQ of 76, who does not grasp the devious conversations among his money-grubbing relatives. Rejected by most of his family and raised by his loving Grandmother, Perry possesses the ability to see the joy in life no matter how small and it’s that spirit that fills the novel forcing the reader to ask themselves, what would make us truly happy?