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

October 1, 2009
The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time by Mark Haddon is a thrilling and exciting adventure into the life of an autistic boy who tries to solve a murder. It's compelling in the way that Haddon captures the voice of Christopher through his grammar and his behavior to help paint a picture about his condition. Christopher goes through ups and downs on an emotional rollercoaster as he figures out the realities and the truths in life.

Mark Haddon is a remarkable author. He was won many awards such as the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and in 2004, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Overall Best First Book the Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time.

Christopher Boone is a young boy who unfortunately suffers from autism. Every day is a struggle for Christopher as he learns new things and continues to practice some of his daily rituals. He is a very intelligent boy who knows “all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7057 (Haddon 2)." Christopher starts his day off by determining how it will be based on the number and color of cars. He loves the color red and whenever he sees five red cars in a row it becomes a “Super Good Day (Haddon 24).” One day after seeing five red cars in a row, Christopher suspected that something good was going to happen to him in the near future. To his surprise, Christopher discovered a black poodle, drenched in its own blood with a garden fork sticking out of its side. This provided Christopher with something to occupy his energy and fueled the plot for the story. Eventually Christopher discovers the murderer and moves on to fix the more complicated problems in his life which leads him to leave the comforts of home and wander on to adventures outside of Swindon. Swindon is a small, urban town on the outskirts of London. The story mostly takes place here, in Christopher's house and neighborhood. One his journey to London, Christopher encounters many strange people and difficult situations in which he is able to persevere and conquer every challenge that is put in front of him until he reaches his mothers apartment. One thing leads to another and Christopher has caused another catastrophe and is back exactly where it has started. Being ignorant, Christopher doesn't realize all the trouble that he has caused and can only focus on one thing, his “level A maths class (Haddon 52).”

Telling the truth is an important and yet ironic theme in this book. Christopher's father was not always upfront with Christopher and hid very important details of his life from him. Christopher always discusses his dislike for lying and liars so when Christopher discovers that his father was lying, he became very upset and acted very irrational. After running away, Christopher himself tells many white lies in order to protect his true motives. He was unable to realize that sometimes lies are necessary in order to protects peoples' feelings and maintain the balance in life.

This book was a very good and easy read. I recommend this book for everyone to read because not only is it a mystery, it's humorous as well. The Boston Globe quotes “Gloriously eccentric and wonderfully intelligent.” Mark Haddon did a terrific job in describing Christopher's character as an autistic boy. Two thumbs up.

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