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The Common Reading Experience 2007/2008

Discussion Questions for The Curious Incident ...

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  1. How did you approach reading the book? Did you read the back cover? Inside cover? The dedication? The copyright page? (What can you learn by reading the copyright page?) Or did you just plunge into reading on page one? How would your reading strategy change your approach to the book? What are the differences in your expectations if the book is fiction or non-fiction?

  2. Since the novel is told through the eyes of Christopher, how does this limit or expand our perceptions of the characters in the novel and ourselves?

  3. What challenges does Curious Incident present to the ways we usually think and talk about characters in books?

  4. Why do numbers and colors seem to be so important to Christopher?
    What does Christopher mean when he says “Prime numbers are like life” (12)?

  5. What is the importance of Sherlock Holmes in the novel? How is the title connected?

  6. If you have finished reading the book, re-read pages 20-21. Is your response different on your second reading?

  7. At several points, Christopher seems to go off on tangents, to digress from the main story line. He inserts math problems, talks about singularity, discusses astronomy, refers to Occam’s Razor and James Gleick’s book Chaos. Is he just showing off or are these references related to the themes of the book? How?

  8. In Chapter 71, Christopher writes that “everyone has learning difficulties and everyone has special needs.” Do you agree with him?

  9. Christopher defines loving someone as “helping them when they get in trouble, and looking after them, and telling the truth”(87). Do you agree with his definition? Does this statement foreshadow the major revelations and conflicts later in the novel?

  10. Christopher’s journey to London takes an enormous amount of courage on his part. How might you compare his journey with other famous journeys? Does this make Christopher a hero?

  11. What is your evaluation of the book? What impact did reading this book have on you?

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