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

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Author: Mark Haddon
Genre: Mystery
Source: Personal Collection

Part murder mystery, part comedic encyclopedia Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is both moving and insightful. Christopher John Francis Boone hates the colors yellow and brown, knows all of the countries of the world and their capitals and can beat the expert version of Minesweeper in 99 seconds. Christopher is autistic and he shelters himself from the mess of the wider world through routine and order. His world is shattered the night he discovers Wellington, his neighbor’s dog, has been murdered.

Following the example of his obsession, Sherlock Holmes, Christopher decides he is going to track down the killer. Christopher’s investigation leads him on an entertaining and at times heart-wrenching journey to London. As Christopher struggles to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the inner workings of his mind.

Instead of attempting to explain how an autistic child’s brain works Haddon uses Christopher’s stream of consciousness narration to show us.  Christopher does not understand emotions or figurative language:

“People say that you always have to tell the truth. But they do not mean this because you are not allowed to tell old people that they are old and you are not allowed to tell people if they smell funny or if a grown-up has made a fart. And you are not allowed to say “I don’t like you” unless that person has been horrible to you.”

This was a fantastic book, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about autism, or just looking for a good book.

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