Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - 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.

The improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.
Summary from the back of book, cover photo from barnesandnoble.com

My Review: Christopher is 15 years 3 months and 2 days old when he discovers the neighbor's dog slain in the middle of the night. After being accused of the murder and spending a few hours in jail, he encompasses on a journey to solve the crime and while doing so writes a book about his adventure. This is Christopher's book yet it's not the mystery of a dead dog so much as it is a journey into the mind of an autistic child.

Haddon's skilled writing style gives the reader a taste of the emotions and hardships of a child inflicted with autism. The writing style is simple yet realistic as the book is narrated by Christopher. Christopher has a very mathematical way of thinking which is depicted in the story. The chapters are all numbered with prime numbers. Small sketches throughout the book depict what Christopher is truly thinking/seeing. Christopher also takes everything quite literally, making for some interesting conversations.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is at once humorous yet painful. I closed this book not only feeling like a knew Christopher, but genuinely caring for him in all his quirkiness. Along the way I learned all sorts of eccentric facts about math, language and the astrology. This is a story that sticks with the reader long after the last page is read.

To the sensitive reader: There is a lot of language in this book. It's language that I felt was necessary for setting the tone of the novel but some may find it offensive.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

It I had to sum it up in one phrase: A cleverly written book which provides insight into the world of autism.

2 comments:

MindySue said...

I completely agree with your sum it up statement. This book was ultimately interesting and very clever. It's quirkiness was a big draw.

Lisa said...

This book was definitely not what I was expecting when I picked it up. I listened to it on CD and it was really well read; really picked up Christopher's voice.

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