The title The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (or the curious incident of the dog in the night-time as it appears within the book) is an appropriate one for Mark Haddon’s ingenious novel both because of its reference to that most obsessive and fact-obsessed of detectives, Sherlock Holmes, and because its lower-case letters indicate something important about its narrator.
Christopher is an intelligent youth who lives in the functional hinterland of autism–every day is an investigation for him because of all the aspects of human life that he does not quite get. When the dog next door is killed with a garden fork, Christopher becomes quietly persistent in his desire to find out what has happened and tugs away at the world around him until a lot of secrets unravel messily.
Haddon makes an intelligent stab at how it feels to, for example, not know how to read the faces of the people around you, to be perpetually spooked by certain colours and certain levels of noise, to hate being touched to the point of violent reaction. Life is difficult for the difficult and prickly Christopher in ways that he only partly understands; this avoids most of the obvious pitfalls of novels about disability because it demands that we respect–perhaps admire–him rather than pity him. —Roz Kaveney
What an incredible book! Haddon has done himself proud. This is a very good representation of a boy how suffers with autism. I think it is great that this has been written, showing how life is for people with this kind of disability. Everything has to be ordered and logical for Christopher to feel comfortable and if it isn’t, he screams and hides and tries to block out noise. I have contact with people with autism and this is very true and I think it is great that this has been brought to our attention so we can understand a little bit of how life is for other people.
My favourite character was Christopher. He took risks, he was humorous when he did not mean to be and he was honest, and I just loved him. Haddon wrote his character very well.
The book was easy and quick to read. It was gripping as there was always a new adventure and it made me laugh in several places. My only complaints are there was a lot of bad language used and lots of maths problems which I didn’t understand – but the latter was part of what made Christopher’s character so unique and realistic.
This is a really good book. Go read it!!
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