The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Author: Mark Haddon
Published: May 2004
Publisher: Vintage
Genre: Literature
Format: Trade paperback
Pages: 226 pages
ISBN-10: 1-400-03271-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-400-03271-6
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Narrated by an autistic high schooler, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time follows 15-year-old Christopher Boone as he investigates the murder of his neighbor’s poodle.

This is a fantastic book that brought me to tears. Somewhere between Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, it’s told in a creative narrative style that illustrates the strengths of protagonist’s overly logical nature and the difficulty of not being able to comprehend the emotional weight of the situations he encounters. Christopher never actually claims autism; he simply talks about how he doesn’t fit in, how he throws temper tantrums a lot, and how he has to come up with a bunch of different ways to combat his anger. And you see that in his narration; you see his struggle in his reactions to a world in which he cannot always cope with. You see the difference between how someone sees themselves and how the world sees them. There’s such a fragility to the guy, and it really comes across with the prose. It’s just so awkward, but it really makes you desperately want to hug the guy, because he has such good intentions but just can’t interact normally with the world. The fun part is that the book is written as if Christopher wrote it for the reader, so he does a lot of creative things like math and smiley faces on the pages.

The story itself is very much coming of age; as Christopher investigates Wellington’s murder, he comes across some alarming information about his mother, who died when he was young. Christopher then embarks on a quest to find out more. The story itself is not insanely innovative, but the way he tells it is what makes it unique.

The Verdict

I would definitely say this is a must read. It’s a very easy breezy read, and Christopher charms the reader almost instantly. It’s the kind of story where the characters besides the narrator almost don’t matter because everything’s through his eyes, and he’s so fascinating on his own. The pacing is great, the plot is great, and the story will stick with you even after you turn the last page. Definitely pick this up.