Book Review,  Reviews

Colin Fischer – Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz

“In the open ocean, fish often swim together in schools. This is typically a strategy to find food or evade predators. But in the waters off the Galapagos Islands there is a school of fish like no other in the world…
Thousands of hammerhead sharks congregate and swim in intricate patterns, the only species of shark to exhibit schooling behaviour. Scientists still don’t know why.”

Colin Fischer is a detective. His Asperger’s Syndrome is part of the reason for his love of facts, and his dislike of being touched. He hates the colour blue and has only just grasped the idea of rhetorical questions. Colin’s room is a shrine to clear-headed logic and when a phone rings in class he can’t handle the noise, so he barks like a dog. However, when a gun goes off in the school cafeteria Colin keeps a level head because he is curious; whose gun is it? why did it go off? and most importantly why was the gun there in the first place? Colin makes it his mission to answer all of these questions, even after the school bully, who has made Colin’s life hell since pre-school, is suspended. 

I have mixed feelings about this book. I knew that I needed to read it because it’s authors are scriptwriters of some great movies and it was likened to The curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. I don’t think it stands up to that comparison but at the same time it was a good book and worth a read. 
I think my mixed feelings come from the way it was written. There are snippets of Colin’s precious notebook intertwined with a third person narrative. I think I would have preferred the story to come from colin himself all the way through, or the third person all the way through. The notebook was interesting but often it felt like an encyclopaedia entry and I was overcome with knowledge of things I have no interest in a fair bit. I know this is to make us understand Colin more as part of Asperger’s is to do with the incredible intelligence of that individual and their ability to reel off information, however it got a bit too much. Most of the snippets were quite long and whilst they did refer to the story quite well in places, in others I skim read them. There was also the citations, which I didn’t enjoy and often felt like the things didn’t need to be explained… I get that it was reference to Colin’s diagnosis but I still didn’t like them much.
Other than this I thought the story was fantastic. Reading the way Colin gathered the evidence and tried to prove Wayne was innocent was fantastic and I really enjoyed it. The way Colin could do that when just that morning Wayne had flushed his head in the toilet was a real credit to the way his mind worked. I really enjoyed the family dynamic represented in Colin Fischer too and thought his parents were fantastic and very strong. His brother bugged me a lot but I think it was just his immaturity shining through because he was a lot younger and probably did live in Colin’s shadow a bit. I loved Melissa, and once we get to know him Wayne too, they were fantastic characters who added a lot to the story.

I think there were some aspects of the story which weren’t quite tied up and I have a feeling this was do deliberately so that the authors can bring us a second book. The story with Rudy didn’t seem over, neither did the mystery of where Wayne went on that first day of school. I think I would give a second book a go if it did happen as I would want these things answering. 
I have heard this book compared to Wonder also which I don’t really get as they are very different books. I think Colin Fischer tells us more about the Autism and Asperger’s syndromes rather than peoples perception of them. I liked that Colin Fischer taught me a lot about the syndrome and managed to do it in an enjoyable way with a good story surrounding it. Although there was a bit of information overload I do think its worth schools and libraries giving this to kids to read as they will learn a lot about people in general. 
Colin Fischer was published by Penguin on February 7th. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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