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Review of the Books: the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Updated on November 13, 2012
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the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time (the title is intentionally set in lowercase letters by the author, at least in the American version) is a book about a young boy who writes a book about solving the mystery of how his neighbor's dog was murdered.

The story, which is told from the perspective of a child with a unique mental condition, shows readers what it's like to see the world with a different pair of eyes and in a different pair of shoes. This book, like the main character, goes a lot further than what the title suggests that this book is about.

Grade: A (9.5/10)

5 stars for the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Major Characters

Character Name
Character Description
Christopher John Francis Boone
A kid with special education needs, he works on writing a book about solving the murder of his neighbor's poodle.
Ed Boone
Christopher's father, who is currently raising him.
Judy Boone
Christopher's mother who passes away a few years before the start of the novel.
Mrs. Alexander
One of Christopher's neighbors who helps him to work out the mystery of who murdered the dog.
Siobhan
Christopher's teacher.
Eileen Shears
Owner of the murdered poodle.
Roger Shears
Eileen's husband, who is currently not living with her.

Plot Summary of the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

Christopher John Francis Boone is an extraordinarily unique individual. He hates the color yellow, he has savant like mathematical skills, he knows all the prime numbers up to 7,057, he loves animals, and has very little comprehension of human emotions. He discovers his neighbor's Poodle, Wellington murdered by a pitchfork one day and is suspected by the police for being involved in the dogs death. Christopher doesn't help the situation when he punches the questioning police officer in the face because the police officer touched him (Christopher doesn't like being touched). This incident spurs him to solve the mystery of Wellington's death and simultaneously write a book about it.

While Christopher works on solving the mystery we learn about his recently deceased mother, his father with whom he lives, his neighbors, and his aspirations in getting an A in his upcoming A level math exams so that he can embark on a career in math and science.

Although Christopher's condition resembles an autistic spectrum disorder the author has denied the fact that Christopher has autism. Instead the author believes the book is more about seeing the world through the eyes of someone who is truly unique, and finding a way to be accepted into a world where no one is like you.

Book Information

Author
Mark Haddon
Published
2003 by Vintage Books
Country of Origin
Great Britain
Original Language
English
Genre
Fiction
Setting
Present Day Swindon
Narration
First Person
Pages
226 pages
Awards
Won the 2003 Whitbread Best Novel and Book of the Year Awards, Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book, The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and the 2004 Boeke Prize

Positive Qualities and Concepts

Mark Haddon uses first person narration in this novel to enlighten readers on what it means to truly think differently in today's world. He also uses first person narration to create devastating emotional effects. Readers learn to trust the narrator Christopher completely, but due to his inability to understand emotions and the world around him, his narration confuses the reader in ways that can lead to some powerful emotional situations and epiphanies.

In addition to getting an inside look to what it feels like to be different, we are treated to the thoughts and values that Christopher possesses. Haddon draws out solutions to Christopher's favorite math problems, he draws out visual maps for readers to see when Christopher travels, and he draws out, intellectually, the way Christopher is trying to learn emotional responses. The book despite being 226 pages goes up to chapter 233 because Christopher decides to give all of his chapters a prime number, another testament to his uniqueness.

Christopher's everyday struggles with things that people find so easy, and his savant skills in areas that everyday people would find very difficult make him a very endearing character. It's Christopher's belief in the truth that is his ultimate endearment to readers though. He not only is searching for the truth about the neighbor's dog, but he is searching for his place in the world and the truth to his existence.

Recommendations

There is very little that can be said about this story that is negative, if anything at all. This book is a tremendously inspiring coming of age story written from a very unique perspective.

Christopher John Francis Boone on many levels reminds readers of J.D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield and his ability to come of age while relating to the reader. The disorienting narration style reminds readers of The Sound and the Fury's Benjy Compson and how difficult it is to be different (this book is nowhere near as confusing as The Sound and the Fury though).

This book is recommended to people who know someone who sees the world differently, or for someone who would like to get an idea of it what is like to truly see the world differently. If you are looking for a book that is just plain different, then this book is for you.

Quotes and Excerpts From Story

"A lie is when you say something happened which didn't happen. But there is only ever one thing which happened at a particular time and a particular place. And there are an infinite number of things which didn't happen at that time and that place. And if I think about something which didn't happen I start thinking about all the other things which didn't happen.
For example, this morning for breakfast I had Ready Brek and some hot raspberry milkshake. But if I say that I actually had Shreddies and a mug of tea I start thinking about Coco-Pops and lemonade and Porridge and Dr Pepper and how I wasn't eating my breakfast in Egypt and there wasn't a rhinoceros in the room and Father wasn't wearing a diving suit and so on and even writing this makes me feel shaky and scared, like I do when I'm standing on the top of a very tall building and there are thousands of houses and cars and people below me and my head is so full of all these things that I'm afraid that I'm going to forget to stand up straight and hang onto the rail and I'm going to fall over and be killed.
This is another reason why I don't like proper novels, because they are lies about things which didn't happen and they make me feel shaky and scared.
And this is why everything I have written here is true."

"And when the universe has finished exploding all the stars will slow down, like a ball that has been thrown into the air, and they will come to a halt and they will all begin to fall towards the centre of the universe again. And then there will be nothing to stop us seeing all the stars in the world because they will all be moving towards us, gradually faster and faster, and we will know that the world is going to end soon because when we look up into the sky at night there will be no darkness, just the blazing light of billions and billions of stars, all falling."

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    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 4 years ago

      I loved this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone. It has a very original viewpoint which makes for a refreshing read. It was great to see a review of this book.

    • Music-and-Art-45 profile image
      Author

      Music-and-Art-45 4 years ago from USA, Illinois

      Hello Giselle, thanks for stopping by. This book was a nice surprise, I didn't have the highest expectations for it, but it ended up working itself out really well.

    • Caren Green profile image

      Caren Green 4 years ago

      As I was reading, my initial guess was that Christopher was on the Autism spectrum; how interesting that he is meant to just be unique instead! Great job evoking the interest of the book. Now I want to read it!

    • Music-and-Art-45 profile image
      Author

      Music-and-Art-45 4 years ago from USA, Illinois

      Hello Caren thanks for stopping by and reading.

      In regards to Christopher I think he was autism inspired but not actually diagnosed with autism, just my thought. The author insists he is not ASD, but there are similarities.

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