Sunday, July 08, 2012

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

This is a unique novel written from the point of view of a fifteen-year-old boy who has a form of autism, probably Aspergers (although he is never labeled in the book). The storytelling style does take some getting used to, but in the end it's a good story.

When the story begins, the narrator - Christopher - discovers that his neighbor's dog has been killed with a garden fork. Christopher decides it's up to him to discover who killed Wellington (the dog). However, his father tells him to mind his own business. Christopher is a very logical person yet sometimes doesn't completely understand what people say to him, so he finds loopholes in what his father means by "mind his own business" and continues to investigate. He makes some shocking discoveries that lead him to run away from home and start on another adventure into an "unfamiliar" world all on his own. On this journey a simple train ride becomes nearly life and death for Christopher who can't handle loud noises and a lot of people.

This novel does a great job of getting into the head of a person with Aspergers. The author gives Christopher a great voice to the point that you can hear him telling the story. One way the story shows Christopher's unique way of thinking is by what I considered "tangent" chapters where Christopher started talking about math or computers. These chapters don't really have anything to do with the Wellington mystery but they show how smart Christopher is and how he doesn't necessarily think like the rest of us. For a person who likes a fluid story these chapters made it difficult for me to get through the novel but at the same time, I understand why they were in the novel. I liked the mystery and the revelations and the relationships between the characters. You could sympathize with their frustrations and you wanted to see Christopher succeed because the world was against him and there wasn't anything he could do about it. It ended with me wanting more closure but, then again, what I wanted closure on wasn't what Christopher thought was most important so it worked for the narrator.

This really is a unique book that might take some getting used to. It did a great job getting into the narrator's head and if you get past the "tangent" chapters, there's a great mystery and journey for Christopher.

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