The Curious Incident of the Dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon

May 26, 2011
By Anonymous

Christopher is the most unusual teenager. Yes, he is autistic, but very clever; even taking his A-level math test seems so simple. Apart from that, one of his most unique characteristics is his love of the color red, but bizarrely not being able to lay his eyes on the colors brown and yellow. The most difficult thing for him is not understanding peoples’ facial expression and how they feel. “It takes me a long time to get used to people,” he says. Sometimes, he even needs to remember the drawings he made of the different facial expressions to know what people mean when they look at him. Oddly, on the other hand, he loves animals and can easily relate to them, (it sometimes even seems like he is one of them).
The national bestseller, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon, begins with the unexpected death of Mrs. Shears’s dog. Extremely upset and angry, Mrs. Shears has no one else to blame for the death of her dear dog but Christopher, as he was the one she found in her yard at the time with the dog wrapped in his arms.
Knowing he didn’t murder the lovely dog, Christopher decides to investigate this mysterious case, although it’s against his father’s volition, who claims he only wants to keep him safe. Despite the fact his father is responsible and loves him, Christopher continues to dig deeper into the mystery. As he continues, he gets closer than ever to the murderer of the dog and unravels secrets that he never knew about. He finds recently written letters, which he thinks, might be from his mother. But how? Until now all he believed was that she had died years ago.
“I’m sorry Christopher. But I still love you. I hope you don’t stay angry with me forever,” stated the first letter Christopher found. Reading this unveils and conveys the sadness of this story for the first time. How would it feel to not have a mother? Believing she was dead, but suddenly, there is a possibility that she is still alive. As Christopher’s worries and doubt grow, so does the reader’s suspicion.
Is Christopher’s mother alive, living without him somewhere else? The book gets much farther than the mystery of who killed Mrs. Shears’s dog. It reaches deep underground to the roots of Christopher’s life. So many surprising and unexpected twists and turns occur in this book. Christopher discovers puzzling secrets he would have never imagined. He has to make many difficult decisions about what he should do.

To me, Haddon sends a particular message with two minds. He pushes beyond the cliché that “anything is possible” and encourages the reader to, “try your best”. He shows how Christopher accomplished many of his desired goals and repeats the overused message that anything is possible. Surely, though, not everything you want to do is possible. So Haddon urges the reader to, “try your best”. Doing so is more powerful than “anything is possible” because you can still achieve the best results. He leaves the reader with the message that no matter what obstacles are in the way, you should continue fighting them as best as possible. Haddon says that nothing you can possibly do is better than trying your best.
From the first page to the last page of this book, I enjoyed every moment. Haddon is very descriptive, and with no questions, quite brilliant. He makes an autistic character an idol for all of us to learn from and to look up to. A character that taught me that so many things are possible if I try my best. That taught me that nothing could stop me from achieving my dreams.
I find this book to be suspenseful, heartbreaking, and inspiring in so many ways. You will, too.

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