Rating: 3/5 stars.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time revolves around Christopher, an autistic teen who discovers his neighbor’s dead dog one night. He is a genius in that he knows all of the prime numbers up to 7,057 and can solve logic puzzles quickly and efficiently; however, he can’t stand the colors yellow or brown or the thought of different foods touching on his plate. As Chris investigates the death of the neighborhood dog, he stumbles upon something that may change his life.
I loved how Mark Haddon maintained the consistency of Christopher’s voice and how he didn’t sacrifice the integrity of his character to make him any more likable. There are times when I wished I could snap Chris out of his stupor, but those moments made the book more realistic. I also liked how Haddon incorporated subtle details in the story to exemplify Chris’s character even more – like the prime-numbered chapters and the appendix at the end.
While the book made me think, I felt like the second half of it floundered in that it didn’t have a point. It showed Chris’s character and thought process, but what else? The story was okay but in terms of broader theme or proceeding beyond the baseline intellectual appeal I didn’t think it was mind-blowing.
Mark Haddon deserves all of his accolades for writing a book that delves deeply into the mindset of someone who doesn’t fit into society. I would recommend this fascinating read to almost everyone, even if it is arduous at times. Can’t wait to discuss this one at book club – there are myriad things to talk about.
Also, for those interested in a fantastic story about a character that has a form of autism/Asperger’s, I highly recommend Marcelo in the Real World. That book touched my heart and I think it’ll appeal to fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
15 responses to “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon”
Fantastic review, Thomas! You are always so thoughtful, I wish I had your capability to write a review with seemingly such ease!
Thank you, Grace! You’re a great writer as well and you’re younger than me, so take pride in that. (:
That was a very good, concise review. I read The Curious Incident a while ago and actually loved it. I didn’t really have any issues with the second half of the book, although I was younger when I read it and always very character-centric on my judgement of a book. I get what you mean about wanting to make Chris snap out of it sometimes – I guess that’s what it’s like with autistic people, which is a shame (I haven’t really met many autistic people, so I don’t know first-hand). Have you done a review for Marcelo in the Real World? I’ve heard about it once before and it sounds really good.
Thanks Mary! I think Chris’s character was great throughout the entire novel, but for some reason I still wanted more from the second half. I haven’t met many autistic people either, though I think Haddon did a great job of showing how frustrating it can be for people who are close to autistic individuals (because they don’t adhere to even some of the most basic rules of society) but how difficult it can be for autistic people themselves. I wrote a review of Marcelo in the Real World a little over two years ago, you can check it out here: https://thequietvoice18.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/marcelo-in-the-real-world-by-francisco-x-stork/.
A few months ago my neighbor was throwing this book away so I rescued it, but have yet to indulge. Your review seems pretty thorough & has given me the nudge I needed to finally check it out.
I can’t believe your neighbor would just throw this book away! I’m glad you saved it, I hope you enjoy it as well!
I read this book a few years ago and I loved Mark Haddon’s writing, the way he dealt with the characters and most importantly the authentic voice that persisted throughout the book. It actually makes you feel it is written by an autistic child. It might get a little weird at times to hold on your interest in the book and love it as much as it deserves because it is a little out-of-the-ordinary kind of stories, yet, I applaud Haddon for doing this, writing this and helping us see at life from the perspective of an autistic child.
You have written a great review here. I hope people read this book once they go through your review.
Also, I will definitely try to read Marcelo in the Real World now that you have suggested and praised it. I am sure it must be worth-a-read!
I also adored how authentic and persistent Christopher’s voice was – you really felt like you were living his story, not the story of an author attempting to act as an autistic person. It did get bothersome at times for me; not the fact that he was autistic or how his autism slowed him down, just some of the narrative and the direction Haddon took it. However, I agree with you in that it was an unusual story that still managed to convey the thoughts and feelings of a unique narrator.
Hope you enjoy Marcelo in the Real World as well!
That’s a great, insightful review of that book – I agree that the highlight was how the author portrayed the character rather than the storyline. I probably would’ve given it 4/5, but as I have Asperger’s Syndrome myself I could identify with the character very well. I’ve just started a blog, I’d love it if you checked it out! http://www.thoughtorchardblog.wordpress.com
Yeah, I think a lot of books become better the more you can empathize with the protagonists or the events occurring in the story. Just checked it out – you’re off to a great start!
There’s nothing wrong with you, I commend your commitment to education! On the flip side of that our youngest son has committed to playing in the NFL since he could talk! He goes to school, is honor roll, work’s out 7 day’s a week, & strives to soak up all the knowledge he can to play football, keep his head on straight, manage his money properly & never misses a Youth Service at church unless he’s at practice …..”what’s wrong with that?”
There’s nothing wrong with your son from what you’ve told me, nothing at all. He seems to have excellent time management skills and it’s inspiring that he can do fantastically in so many different activities!
Excellent review Thomas. An interesting read.
Thank you so much!
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