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

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

4 stars

Originally, I’d seen this book advertised in a few places but never really thought to look into what it was about.  Then it showed up on a list that someone recently sent me of books they’d read and really enjoyed, so on the TBR list it went.  Shortly after that, the e-book became available from my library, so I snatched it up!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is about Christopher Boone, a 15 year old with “behavioral problems” living in Swindon, in southern England.  While it is not explicitly said in the book, Christopher displays many of the traits of a person with Asperger’s syndrome, which dictates much of the book’s tone (although some versions of the book actually mention Asperger’s on the cover).  Told from Christopher’s perspective, the book is meant to be his “murder mystery novel.”  The book opens when Christopher finds Wellington, his neighbor’s poodle, stabbed to death by a garden fork. The remainder of the book finds Christopher “doing some detecting” to find out who killed Wellington and chronicles his adventures throughout Swindon and London (along with Toby, his pet rat).

One of the most creative elements of the book is the chapter numbering.  Since Christopher explains in the beginning how much he likes prime numbers, the chapters are numbered in primes.  While this confused me at first and had me thinking that my copy had skipped the first chapter, I soon caught on to the clever pattern (which Christopher also eventually explains).

Christopher’s perspective is incredibly blunt and logical, adding a certain level of depth to the writing.  Not only did Haddon have to create the plot and put it into Christopher’s perspective, but he also included several math and logic problems, their answers and explanations.  Not that I paid really close attention to them because I’ve since given up on trying to understand anything math-related, but it was intriguing to see the passion and understanding Christopher has for math and logic and how he uses it as a coping mechanism in many situations.

To be honest, the plot’s really not that interesting; he kind of just travels around town and then makes his way to London. Christopher has a very simplistic, childish way of looking at the world, especially given his age and his apparent bookish intelligent. However, its Christopher’s quirks, intricacies and bluntness that brings depth to the plot.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was published in 2003 by Doubleday.

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4 Responses to Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  1. Dad says:

    Good book and even better review.

  2. Pingback: Booking Through Thursday: Odd | The Nerdy Reader

  3. Pingback: Sunday Salon: Best Reads of 2011 | The Nerdy Reader

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