The Curious Incident at JSU


By Heather Greene

Still on the hunt for a great read as the summer is drawing to a close? Join the “curious incident” sweeping Jacksonville State University’s campus as students, faculty and staff pick up the common reading selection and step into the shoes of young Christopher John Francis Boone in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon.

Boone is a 15-year-old autistic boy in England who admittedly knows “all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7,057.” But when he finds his neighbor’s dog dead, he takes it upon himself to play the role of Sherlock Holmes and discover the culprit. This unique first-person narrative allows the reader to step into the shoes and mind of an autistic teenage boy as he navigates the emotional nuances of society. 

Each year, the JSU Reads committee selects one book to serve as a unifying force and promote thought-provoking discussion among freshmen students. Introduced to the common reading selection at orientation, freshmen go on to study it during their English composition and First-Year Student Experience courses. Faculty, staff and upperclassmen are encouraged to read it as well.  

One group that get a head start on reading the selection each year are the JSU GO! Leaders and Coordinators. Responsible for guiding students around on orientation days during the summer, every GO! Leader is expected to have read the book before Orientation gets started each year.

“I enjoyed the book thoroughly and believe that the book addresses a topic often swept under the rug,” said Jared Davis, a GO! Leader Coordinator and senior majoring in finance. “I believe that this book can teach students about the importance of treating everyone equally and being understanding to differences.”

Delena Harris, a GO! Leader and senior majoring in broadcasting, explained that this year’s orientation team specifically focused on the subject of inclusion, a topic vital to orientation and Haddon’s book.

“This book assisted in this because there were so many instances where Christopher…was treated in a very un-inclusive manner from his parents, neighbors, classmates, and even strangers,” explained Harris. “I believe that like the GO! Leaders, students can gain a better understanding of those who may not be similar to themselves. I believe it will also teach students the struggles that those around them may face that they may not be aware of from someone's outward appearance. I hope students will learn that inclusivity is something that is practiced less and less, and that they will become more aware of how they think and act in their everyday lives.” 

For more information on the Common Reading program, please click here.