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

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time is an insightful book by Mark Haddon that places the reader into the shoes of a fifteen year old boy named Christopher Boone. The author, Mark Haddon, is the author of several different children's books and has won numerous awards such as the Whitbread book of the year and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize overall best first book for The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time so although he's not very well known in the United States, he's a powerhouse across the pond. The book follows the story of a young boy named Christopher Boone, who's brilliant, yet he has difficulty understanding human emotions, he cannot stand to be touched, and he groans and shuts down whenever he's in a crowded place. This is because Christopher has a disease known as Asperger syndrome, which is considered to be a highly functioning form of autism.

Before reading this book, I really didn't know much about Asperger syndrome itself. Upon reading this book, I learned that people with Asperger syndrome have some of the most gifted minds around, solving even the most complex equations with ease that would make an AP Calculus student cringe. But people with Asperger's lack empathy, nonverbal communication skills, have crippling behavioral problems, and in Christopher's case, have difficulty understanding people's emotions because “people's faces move very quickly.”(pg. 3) In a nutshell, they're incredibly bright, yet can't function in the real world. The book's author, Mark Haddon, spent years working with children who have autism, so he's able to write an account that not only informs the reader about the disease, but immerses the reader in the shear uniqueness of the novel.
You may be wondering, what does he mean by “uniqueness”? What sold me on the book, and what made the book so unique was the writing style. While most novels at your local book store are filled with long complex sentences and words that the reader has never heard of, The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time has a diction and sentence structure that can be described in one word…..Simple! Since the narrator of the book is fifteen and has Asperger syndrome, Haddon writes his book using simple sentence structure and common everyday words that are exchanged in conversation. The novels protagonist, Christopher, also goes off on one of his many rants on how he hates the way that authors speak in books because they include phrases like “some hardness, perhaps of eye,”(pg.71)that he doesn't understand. By doing this, he makes the book easy to follow and easy to pick up and read.
But of course, the thing I liked the most about this book would have to be the gripping plot that left me as a reader wondering about what was going to happen to the young boy Christopher next. After discovering his neighbor's dog “dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog.” (Pg.1)After this horrifying discovery, Christopher makes it his own personal quest to find the killer and write about his adventures in a book. Trying to figure out the mystery, Christopher searches high and low for clues that could point him towards the killer. However, as the story progresses, Christopher discovers some startling truths that truly do change his life forever. Once this happens though, the book goes from being a suspense novel, to something entirely different that has the reader cheering Christopher on through his many endeavors throughout the book.
All in all, I found this book to be a charming, easy to read, interesting novel about a troubled young boy who is trying to find his way in the world, comparable to Holden from The Catcher in the Rye. Readers should find the writing style interesting and the characters quite convincing and compelling. Already highly recommended by many different critics in Britain and America, I say that if you're looking for a good read; pick up The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon today!





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