The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
By Mark Haddon
Summary: 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.
Source: My grandmother mailed me a paperback
This book was on my TBR to complete a prompt for the 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge for a character with a disability. I don’t know that I would have picked it up so early in the year had my grandmother, an avid reader herself, happened to mention that she read it and mailed me a copy to read so we could talk about it.
I really enjoyed the book. It was written from the point of view of Christopher, a boy with some form of autism, who discovered a neighbor’s dead dog and proceeded to write a book for school about it because he liked solving mysteries. The premise was simple, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was all the rage at one point, which often makes me avoid a book, especially if I’m concerned it will be overly emotional or something. I’m weird in that regard, but I’m glad I finally picked it up.
The book has a lot of mixed reviews and I think that’s largely due to expectations and the strange narration. Christopher, being a unique person with quirks and very literal thinking, was a different sort of narrator. It was like being in the head of Rain Man or something similar, because he didn’t understand facial expressions or figures of speech and avoided yellow and determined good days based on seeing so many red cars in row on the way to school. Some readers will find the narration difficult to get through because it feels childish at times, but I enjoyed the effort and it felt like I was really seeing things from an autistic boy’s point of view and not like an awful attempt at being unique on the author’s part.
I won’t give anything away because I enjoyed having no idea where the story would go, but it was well worth the read. It was rather quick to get through because the writing was so straightforward and the book itself was short. I liked the perspective, I felt for Christopher and better understood his parents as the story went on. I definitely recommend the book if you’re looking for something different.