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

October 1, 2009
More by this author
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Throughout Mark Haddon's novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the story of a frivolous search for a mysterious killer of the neighborhood pet poodle is descriptively illustrated through the first-person point of view of Christopher, a young boy who suffers from autism. However, through his discoveries, Christopher comes across a gut-wrenching truth which will change the lives of him as well as his family. This simple looking novel succeeds in containing very sophisticated problems and situations which give the book an interesting sub-plot and mood as the characters progress and develop within the reader, further gluing them in between the pages.

Christopher is a boy who has been raised to tell nothing but the truth. This leads to an interesting sub-plot concerning the value of truth not just in the novel, but in society as a whole. Basically, a “live what you preach” kind of ideology comes into play with this. As Christopher is blatantly lied to by his own father, the one person who has raised him alone for the majority of his life, how is he to grow into an honest man while trusting his companions throughout his life while he has lost trust in his own father? This theme of trust develops continuously throughout the novel as it is such a point of emphasis to Christopher. Consequently, the betrayal of trust urges Christopher to face his fears and seek the truth since he no longer feels he can continue to live with the lies.

Another theme which is created by Haddon is that of safety with familiarization because Christopher, being autistic, seeks refuge and safety in places which he knows well (or places where he can be in complete solitude). Connecting this with the theme of honesty, Christopher loses his safety net which he had always viewed his home to be. Therefore, he forces himself to leave his old habits and places of refuge to take a risk by traveling into the unknown in attempt to seek out his mother whom he believed to have died long ago. In this journey, he faces many obstacles which, to him, are new and unsettling, especially given his uneasiness in dealing with the unknown. However, he does find a way to grow and expand to overcome some of these fears while reuniting with his mother and making new bonds of trust and safety to replace those which he had lost.

Haddon's simplistic-looking book does pack an unexpected, insightful punch which could possibly mirror some experiences which he faced throughout his early childhood or even during times in his adult hood. His creation of this novel led to its nomination as one of the best first novels written, an award which he did, in fact, win later one. With his prestigious award winning novel under his belt, Haddon would continue to write various other novels such as A Spot of Bother, as well as others. I would highly recommend this novel to future readers who are interested in reading something different, and expanding their horizons into views and ideals which not all of use experience on an every day basis. It is a different and exciting story which is a fun read since it is told through a creative point of view. The sub-plots and themes created by Haddon add to the novel's depth, resultantly causing it to carry very big ideas with in a simple, easy to read, cover.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now! said...
Nov. 25, 2015 at 5:42 am
My review: first of all: awesome, extraordinary and a stunning book! In my opinion it's an easy read but it's not that easy to understand. Sometimes it's kind of confusing because the protagonist "suffers" from autism and people like him think way more complex and in a different way. I think it was a great experience to see everything through his eyes, to feel with him and to see, how he was acting in various situations. This book was on the one hand kind of sad and moving but on the other hand ... (more »)
juliefriesi said...
Nov. 25, 2015 at 5:40 am
I liked the book "the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime" by Mark Haddon very much. It has many different sides and parts, for example some are joyful and some are sad but you can hardly find out which part is supposed to be sad or thrilling because Christopher can't describe it that well. Because the Protagonist Cristopher has a disability, autism, you can also learn a lot about These people's behavior and how they act in front of others. The author was well informed about this diseas... (more »)
lenadax said...
Nov. 25, 2015 at 5:37 am
In the last weeks, I read the book "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon. All in all, I think it's a good book. For me, it was an easy read because the vocabulary isn't very extensive. But some feelings of Christopher were kind of difficult to understand because he's thinking in a different way than me. When he is somewhere, he is noticing every little detail and he's also writing down stuff like this. That's why the book is really long-winded sometimes and it's a bi... (more »)
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback