Book Review – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
- Book: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
- Author: Mark Haddon
- Genre: Fiction
- Year of Release: 2004
- Read 226-page paperback edition in October 2015.
This novel delves into the mindset of Christopher Boone, a 15 year-old with amazing talent and gifts in areas like math and science, but with very limited understanding of certain social skills and social cues, including the ability to develop strong relationships. He is somewhere on the autism spectrum, and his various personality quirks and issues often frustrate his father who is taking care of him. When the neighbour’s dog is strangely murdered by a garden fork in the yard, Christopher decides to get involved and become a detective, even though his dad tells him to mind his own business. What follows in the investigation is an amazing story about how Christopher learns, how he thinks, and also how he must cope with shocking truths, and how the people around him must learn and adapt as well.
This novel by first-time novelist Mark Haddon is an amazing and fantastic adventure into the mind of someone who is somewhere on the autism spectrum.
We see the entire story play out through Christopher’s eyes. It is amazing to see how Christopher’s math-attuned mind is able to find specific detail that most of us would not see, or compute numbers and see patterns. At the same time, it is interesting as a reader to see how Christopher can’t make sense of certain comments made by the adults around him, and for us as readers, to understand the comments, but to see the frustration through Christopher’s eyes. The author’s decision to have the narrator be Christopher 100% of the time was a great one, and created a strong sense of empathy, understanding, and education for the reader.
The storyline itself is an enjoyable and creative one. The structure of a murder mystery which turns into quite an adventure was well written. The story becomes fairly fast moving, and the book itself is a quick read. Although some elements of the plot may be slightly unbelievable and/or overly convenient at times, as a whole it is a great story, which touches on adventure and emotional drama in equal measure.
The characters in the story are almost all shades of grey. Nobody is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes and has issues about them. This speaks to real life and is testament to Haddon’s attempt to write a real story about real people.
In summary, this was a very enjoyable, insightful, and eye-opening book, well worth the read.
Overall: 4 stars out of 5 stars.