Book Review

Book Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeBook Review - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Author: Mark Haddon

Publisher: Vintage

Genre: Mystery, Young Adult

First Publication: 2003

Language: English

Major Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone, Toby, Siobhan, Mr. Jeavons, Mrs. Alexander, Ed Boone, Judy Boone, Mr. Roger Shears, Mrs. Eileen Shears, Rhodri, Wellington

Setting Place: Swindon, in Wiltshire, England, and London, in the late twentieth century

Theme: Growing Up, Trust, Truth, Love, and Safety, Perspective and the Absurdity of the World

Narrator: First Person


Book Summary: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened.

Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.


Book Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

A mostly light-hearted novel told from the perspective of Christopher Boone, a teenage boy with autism. A lovely autistic teenage boy (Christopher) with an incredible talent for math and a gifted logical brain which is amazingly observant of every little details around, is our hero in this book. He’s afraid of talking to strangers, being put in unknown situations, being touched and lacks the proper intuition about others that many “normal people” take for granted. He loves timetables, dogs, rats, prime numbers and Sherlock Holmes and he hates metaphors (not similes!), noisy places and yellow and brown colors.

“I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them”

The story of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time begins by Christopher chronicling his investigation of who killed his neighbor’s dog. But, a huge discovery along the way causes for Christopher to investigate something more scandalous. Christopher is then determined to track down somebody who he is more interested in meeting.

The plot is interesting, unique and heart wrenching. Reading the things that this boy does and says and thinks is such a different experience. Through Christopher, the main character, we get a sense of feeling from the people he writes about. He writes about the characters reactions, and through that, we can imagine their feelings.

“Sometimes we get sad about things and we don’t like to tell other people that we are sad about them. We like to keep it a secret. Or sometimes, we are sad but we really don’t know why we are sad, so we say we aren’t sad but we really are.”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is written skilfully. The chapters are written on seemingly unrelated topics sometimes, just as, I imagine, an autistic person would write. The sentences are very much like the title. Haddon’s phrasing, descriptions, thought, and speech as Christopher often made me stop and reread what I just read.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time solves the mystery of a small incident in life and leaves us questioning the bigger unsolved mystery of being such a complicated creature. Also emphasizes how very small things in life are actually the most important ones that keep us alive inside and make our lives worth living. (sorry for the cliché). The part that moved me most was the part where both parents repeatedly express their pain for not being able to hug their child..

“I think people believe in heaven because they don’t like the idea of dying, because they want to carry on living and they don’t like the idea that other people will move into their house and put their things into the rubbish.”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time offers a big insight into the mind of someone with autism. The story is told by a quirky narrative which details random facts, stories and opinions of Christopher, and how he best explains the reasons for his odd habits and behavior. This novel demonstrates some good introspection by the character of Christopher, and features his great attempts to improve his social skills and his understanding of other people.


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