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

dog in the nightChristopher 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, fifteen-year-old Christopher is autistic and everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. 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 favorite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

4 Thumbs-UpThis is the first book by this Author that I have read, and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.  However, if British Humour is not your thing, you may find this book a little dry for your tastes and, therefore, consider giving it a miss.

From a character point of view, it is immediately apparent that this Author cares deeply about the people who populate his pages, and through his writing he makes the reader come to care about them too.  Written from the viewpoint of the main protagonist who has Asperger’s Syndrome, this book is not all about the syndrome but how the main character sees and lives his life whilst coping with this syndrome.  He is filled with a determination and objectivity that clutches at the reader’s heart and makes them want to continue reading on to the end.  All the characters in this book are written with such care and compassion, it is hard to find one that the reader will not like, even those who appear to wrong the main character are not downright nasty people.

Readers need to be aware that this is not a book to be taken lightly and, although it is a work of fiction, it does shed some light on the syndrome our main character suffers with, it explains its defined characteristics and also sheds some light as to why people such as he, find it difficult to be around those who do not have the illness.  The storyline itself does not move a fluidly as some other novels I have read, but when you consider who the narrator is this is perfectly acceptable, as we are being told the tale through his words and in a way that he can relate to the world around him.  For me, the one thing that stood out in this novel over anything else was the way in which it made me think and re-evaluate the way I act when around those with autism; I think there will be very few who read this that are not affected in the same way.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, and especially if they enjoy one that has a different type of ‘detective’ at the centre of it.

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