The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

“A superb achievement. He is a wise and bleakly funny writer with rare gifts of empathy,” according to Ian McEwan, author of Atonement. He is referring to The Curious Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, and like him, myself and many others agree with his very complimentary statement. The novel has a profound story, and is a very enjoyable read that gives the reader an excellent insight into the world of a child with autism.

The main character of the novel, Chris, is a boy with autism. The novel explores his journey as he overcomes obstacles, and as he grows and matures. Haddon captures the true characteristics of a boy with autism and grants the reader a rare glimpse into the world of a child with autism. The reader comes out of this novel with a far greater understanding of autism and how it affects the mind. The reader learns about how autism affects social skills and not intelligence. For example, when Chris gets nervous he “doubles 2’s in [his] head because it makes [him] feel calmer. [He] got to 33554432, which is 225, which was not very much because [he had] gotten to 245 before.” (Haddon 120). In the novel, Chris is probably one of the most intelligent characters, but he just has a very difficult time expressing himself to other people. Chris is courageous when he is working on his detective work, and because he was afraid of strangers, “talking to other people on the street was brave. But if you are going to do detective work you have to be brave, so I had no choice.” (Haddon 35). Chris is a character that makes you really want to support him and hope for him to succeed, and because of this, he makes for a strong protagonist.
The setting of this novel is a town called Swindon, which thanks to Haddon, I now can picture in my mind. The description included in the novel, and Chris’ outlook on the town, gives me a clear picture of what I think Swindon would look like. I also have a map in my mind of what his house would look like because of the description in detail of all the different rooms in the house. I feel like I have been to Chris’ house, and walked up and down his street with him. The diagrams in the novel, like the one of his street on page 35, help paint an overall picture, but then the descriptions are what fill in the details that were missing. Throughout the novel I have a picture in my mind, almost like a movie of the places Chris goes and the actions he takes.
The journey Christopher embarks on is one that will force him to rely on his intelligence and skills to prevail. He has to find the train station on his own, and because he knows it is near by, “[he] can find it by moving in a spiral, walking clockwise and taking every right turn until you come back to a road you’ve already walked on, then taking the next left, then taking every right turn and so on.” (Haddon 139). The novel starts off right off the way with Chris investigating the death of a neighbor’s dog, but one thing leads to another, and Chris ends up going on an expedition. He has to overcome his own fears and personal difficulties to achieve his goal and hopefully reach his destination. At times on this journey he is motivated by fear, but at others he is motivated by hope of reaching the end. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this journey, and I felt I was watching Chris throughout the ups and downs of his trek.
I very much enjoyed this novel, and I would recommend it to anyone who would enjoy an entertaining story of a boy with a determined mind to reach his goals. I would also recommend this book to anyone who would like to gain a more keen insight into the world of a child with autism. This novel opened my eyes, and I hope it can open yours, to the differences, not disabilities, of a child with autism. Even though he struggles socially Chris is very intelligent, and he proves that throughout the entire novel. If you choose to read this exhilarating novel, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Armstrong said...
Nov. 2, 2009 at 11:08 pm
What a great article! you should be a writer. I'm so nice! are you nice. I'm so nice to people. I had a dog that had autism, he loves the bowl.
Blind Guy Mcsqueezy replied...
Nov. 2, 2009 at 11:39 pm
That's what she said!
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