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10 Book Characters Who Make Us Smile

"Who knows, he may grow up to be President someday...unless they hang him first!" From Tom Sawyer to Willy Wonka, these classic and contemporary fictional characters will help kids and parents alike celebrate their own ADHD-fueled creativity, intelligence, and spunk. The literary world would certainly be boring without them.

4 Comments: 10 Book Characters Who Make Us Smile

  1. I totally see it in Sherlock Holmes, especially as he appears in the books and early movies. Everything around him he doesn’t find particularly interesting goes completely ignored and un-noticed but if he takes interest in it he’s completely hyperfocused. He goes days without stopping to take care of himself, relying on Mrs. Hudson and Watson to take care of mundane activities around him. Watson even inadvertently serves as Holmes’ ADHD body double and though he became Holmes’ assistant, he actually just started as a roommate for Sherlock to afford rent.

    That’s another very ADHD thing about Holmes, that although he has unparalleled skills in detection and could probably get a job with any police force in the world, his ADHD brain would make routine police work impossible for him with having to take any case assigned, not just the interesting and challenging ones, and the paperwork would be impossible for him.

    Even his cocaine use fits, as it would be one of the primary drugs available to him to act as a stimulant. It’s interesting to note that the description of Holmes’ behavior when using cocaine is more like the affect stimulants have on ADHD brains than on neurotypicals. From Cocaine.org, “according to the national highway traffic safety administration, ‘recreationally, cocaine is used to increase alertness, relieve fatigue, feel stronger and more decisive.” Compare that to Sherlock’s reaction to it as stated in a “A Study in Scarlet”, “For days on end he would lie upon the sofa in the sitting-room, hardly uttering a word or moving a muscle from morning to night. On these occasions I have noticed such a dreamy, vacant expression in his eyes, that I might have suspected him of being addicted to the use of some narcotic.” So Watson, a trained physician (who of course was written by an actual physician) think Sherlock is using a narcotic based on the affects it has on him and yet Sherlock himself tells Watson he uses cocaine, a stimulant not a narcotic. Again from “A Study in Scarlet”, “It is cocaine, he said, ‘a seven-per-cent solution. Would you care to try it?'” This aligns well with how stimulants tend to affect ADHD brains. From the website areterecovery.com “Think of cocaine use for ADHD as producing the exact opposite effects of cocaine use in someone who doesn’t have ADHD. Whereas someone using cocaine that does not have ADHD will more than likely experience that classic “rush” and high energy, a user with ADHD will most likely give off signs of sedation. Blank stares, calmness, and daydreaming are common in cocaine users with ADHD, but the calmness does come with adverse effects.” Sound familiar?

    He’s also written to be very messy and disorganized with his belongings. From “The Musgrave Ritual”, “An anomaly which often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind, and although he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, he was none the less in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever drove a fellow-lodger to distraction. Not that I am in the least conventional in that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble work in Afghanistan…has made me more lax than befits a medical man”. He continues, “But with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs.” So here’s a man who recognizes that he himself is atypically messy for a man and physician yet Holmes is on a whole other level of disorganized, except for when it comes to what his hyperfocus is on, his attire and his detection.

    Whether all these ADHD traits in Sherlock Holmes was intentional or accidental I don’t know but they certainly add up to a very good fit for symptoms of ADHD. Of course Sherlock was invented a long time before ADHD was identified as a diagnosable disorder but it still would have existed in Conan Doyle’s world. It’s well known the character was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell, one of Conan Doyles instructors at medical school. It’s a shame there isn’t more known about the personality and character traits of Bell. Perhaps he had ADHD himself and it was those character traits that stood out to Conan Doyle that made their way into the personality of Holmes.

  2. I’m writing a book about Sarah Brimley a 23 year old girl who has some unlucky events happen in her life which leads her to a chance meeting with a therapist who specializes in Adult ADHD. Sarah then discovers her strengths with the therapist and starts to turn her life around for the positive.

  3. The most blatant example of a fictional character on the ADHD spectrum is a very well known and very popular character indeed. He is impulsive, quick to anger, he is obsessed (with food among other things) , he is forgetful, and distractible .His imagination kicks in and takes him away offen in mid conversation ! His name is Homer Simpson . There are so many examples , especially in the first 9 seasons of The Simpsons where Homer exemplifies the ADHD spectrum. His son Bart has the garden variety version of ADD , but his symptoms will probably get worse as an adult.(Daniel Amen says the disorder runs in families, it’s actually genetic). Lisa and Marge Simpson obviously don’t have it , they are there to provide some contrast.Homer does have a job, but he is incompetent at it.He’s got a beautiful heart as a Father. Bart is bright and inventive and full of ideas. There was one episode where he was taking a drug for ADD called “Focusin”. if you watch the first 9 seasons of the show with your knowledge of ADHD in mind, you’ll notice Homer and Bart are not stupid, the characters only seem like buffoons on the surface . Watch the early versions of the Simpsons (from the 90’s) and you’ll realise that Homer is textbook ADHD more so than any other fictional character on the list above!

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