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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: A Book Review

Updated on May 14, 2013

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

Mark Haddon's bestseller novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is a story of Christopher John Francis Boone, a young savant fifteen year old boy with austim called Asperger's Syndrome who loves math and physics. He can rattle off prime numbers and square roots with the ease of someone reciting the alphabet, and can speak about the origins of the universe with the aplomb of Stephen Hawking. But he has more problems with people.

Haddon's takes us into a journey in the mind's of a young boy having disability while struggling to understand the world beyond him. A very touching story as well as entertaining adventures. A truly must read heartwarming story!

Book Description

“From the Publisher's Weekly...”

Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive "theory of mind" by which most of us sense what's going on in other people's heads. When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns ("4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don't speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don't eat my lunch and Take No Risks"). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. Though Christopher insists, "This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them," the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice.

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Listen to the The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Audio Book

RC 725 Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime CD
RC 725 Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime CD

Product Description

Haddon's novel is a startling performance. This is the sort of book that could turn condescending, or exploitative, or overly sentimental, or grossly tasteless very easily, but Haddon navigates those dangers with a sureness of touch that is extremely rare among first-time novelists. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is original, clever, and genuinely moving: this one is a must-read.


Mark Haddon (born 26 September 1962) is a British novelist and poet, best known for his 2003 novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

He educated at Uppingham School and Merton College, Oxford, where he studied English. In 2003, Haddon won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and in 2004, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Overall Best First Book for his novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, a book which is written from the perspective of a boy with Asperger syndrome. Haddon's knowledge of Asperger syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum, comes from his work with autistic people as a young man. In an interview at, Haddon claimed that this was the first book that he wrote intentionally for an adult audience; he was surprised when his publisher suggested marketing it to both adult and child audiences. His second adult novel, A Spot of Bother, was published in September 2006.

Mark Haddon lives in Oxford with his wife Dr. Sos Eltis, a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, and their two young sons.(read more Wikipedia)

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

See what others are saying about Mark Haddon's book.

Excerpt from the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

As Mark Haddon's says, "I think once I heard the voice I knew that Christopher would be quite easy. I started writing in that voice, and I found it so engaging myself that I knew I could write in the voice for a long time.

The more difficult thing was constructing the shape of the story. I knew there was a story; once you find a dog with a fork through it, you know there's a story there. The more difficult puzzle was this: I wanted the whole book to be in Christopher's voice, but the paradox is that if Christopher were real he would find it very hard, if not impossible, to write a book. The one thing he cannot do is put himself in someone else's shoes, and the one thing you have to do if you write a book is put yourself in someone else's shoes. The reader's shoes. You've got to entertain them, and there's no way he could have done that."

It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears' house. Its eyes were closed. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog. The points of the fork must have gone all the way through the dog and into the ground because the fork had not fallen over. I decided that the dog was probably killed with the fork because I could not see any other wounds in the dog and I do not think you would stick a garden fork into a dog after it had died for some other reason, like cancer for example, or a road accident. But I could not be certain about this.

I went through Mrs Shears' gate, closing it behind me. I walked onto her lawn and knelt beside the dog. I put my hand on the muzzle of the dog. It was still warm.

The dog was called Wellington. It belonged to Mrs Shears who was our friend. She lived on the opposite side of the road, two houses to the left.

Wellington was a poodle. Not one of the small poodles that have hairstyles but a big poodle. It had curly black fur, but when you got close you could see that the skin underneath the fur was a very pale yellow, like chicken.

I stroked Wellington and wondered who had killed him, and why.

Christopher Boone's Mini Profile

“Christopher Boone's Mini Profile”

Name: Christopher John Francis Boone.

Location: Swindon, England.

Pets: One dog named Sandy. I used to have a rat named Toby.

Favorite Colour: Red.

Favorite School Subject: Maths, but I like Physics too.

Favorite Animal: Dogs.

Favorite Food: Most red foods, except ones that feel like oatmeal.

Other Interesting Things About Me: I do not like most people. I have

Special Needs, and go to a school for people with Special Needs. I took A-Level

Maths right before I finished my book, and I passed and got an A-result. I am

going to take the next level of A-Level Maths soon, and I will pass those too.

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon

A Spot of Bother
A Spot of Bother

Reader's Review

Mark Haddon has done it again. For anyone who has read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" and wondered how he could match it, be assured that he does.

This is not an easy read, but it's an amazing story that keeps the surprises coming. It will make quite the movie someday.

Love, sex, death, and mental illness all blend together in a familial storm that culminates in a crescendo that will have you laughing and wondering what could possibly go wrong next. You'll see.


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    • dawngibson lm profile image

      dawngibson lm 6 years ago

      It was such a good book! I read it and heard it on the CBC Radio "Talking Books." It was a great father son story, with mystery, and lots of excitement.