Christopher Boone has never been further than the corner shop at the end of his road. He keeps his head down whilst his father tries to cope with the loss of his wife and both of them with Christopher’s Asperger’s. But when the neighbour’s dog is murdered in its back garden, Christopher embarks on a terrifying adventure to find out who, exactly, did it.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been on my to-read list for ages. Everyone kept saying how amazing it was, how I needed to read it. So when I discovered this book in a charity shop, I just had to get it (to then discover that according to my mother we already have a copy. Hey-ho!).
Christopher is the narrator of this novel, and wrote it after his social worker, Siobhan, suggested it. Due to his Asperger’s, Christopher doesn’t exactly understand the world around him, and things that are perfectly ordinary to us would terrify him, such as a tube coming into a station, or too many people in one place (although if you’ve ever been to Oxford Circus at Christmastime, you’ll find that quite scary, believe me). This book is really interesting to understand how people with Asperger’s see the world around us, how different it is to people who don’t have it.
The plot, the death of the dog, wasn’t as large as I thought it would be. Rather, the plot of this book is about Christopher growing up and discovering the world; this has to be the only ‘crime’ novel, in the loosest sense of the word, where the crime is a side-plot! However, the mystery was still written well, and other mysteries appear as the book goes on. And they’ll all intrigue you.
Other characters include Christopher’s father, who I really didn’t like due to his lying, and the neighbour across the road who’s dog dies, who I also didn’t like because, well, she was a bitch. However, they were still well-crafted characters with their own problems and I enjoyed the fact they seemed realistic.
Haddon has a tender tone which isn’t cutesy or patronising, but stark-ravingly real and still gives you the strange and sad atmosphere he tries to create. Yes, sadness. Well, murder isn’t exactly a happy occasion, but it’s the subplots which tug at your heartstrings.
The Curious Incident definitely makes you think of people in a different way. Try it yourself; read the book then go out into the outside world and look at people. Really look. Don’t be too creepy, but imagine their own lives. What troubles are they coping with? What’s happening to them? Of course loads of other books teach you about this, but there’s no harm of one more to remind you that outside of your own little bubble of personal space, there’s a literal world of people out there.
My recommendations of this book go to those who are interested in autism and want a different type of book to read – one with interesting chapter titles, a unique narrator and some diagrams to break up the text as well as something you probably have never read before.
TITLE: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
AUTHOR: Mark Haddon
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2004
NUMBER OF PAGES: 272
PERSONAL SOURCE: Picked up in a charity shop – Vitalise, to be exact.