Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2013 book)
Author: Mark Haddon
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, YA, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
“Sometimes we get sad about things and we don’t like to tell other people that we are sad about them. We like to keep it a secret. Or sometimes, we are sad but we really don’t know why we are sad, so we say we aren’t sad but we really are.”
At first glance, the plot that you read at the back of the book is a simple, maybe unattractive, one. The novel is narrated from Christopher’s perspective. He is a 15-year-old autistic boy – who presumably doesn’t know so himself – that lives with his dad in Swindon. And, just like the name of the book, the boy tries to find out about the murder of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington. Unbeknownst to him, the reasons behind the murder of the dog go beyond what he expects, and this then links to the ‘second’ issue of the story: the truth about Christopher’s mother and the relationship between his divorced parents.
I highly recommend the book from just the plot itself, because it touches on sensitive topics that I believe are even more crucial and relatable today.
As the novel is written from Christopher’s perspective, he is the sole most important character. I was taken aback when I started reading the book, because I didn’t know what to expect from this teenage boy. But his perspective and the way he ‘logically’ processes the environment that surrounds him gives so much detail into the mind of an autistic boy. Whether that was the author’s intention to do so or not, my mind was enlightened when I finished reading the book.
But then again, I could be biased – I have a particular interest on people with disabilities, and when I had the chance to interact with an autistic child (much younger, though) in one of my summer breaks, I have since tried to understand how he took in the social environment that surrounded him. This book provides so much clarification, and it’s really well-written from that perspective.
It’s very in-depth and thought-through. Christopher writes in this book as if it were his diary, and so he records everything that goes on in his life. The writing style is very simple, which helps the reader to understand clearly the thoughts of the boy and how he sees his surroundings completely from his own view.
Though I am particularly attracted to books with more complex and developed/twisted plots, this was a very well put-together novel. It may not be your typical cup of tea, but I do recommend it due to the unique perspective that this book takes.
Who would I recommend it to?
Anyone. I wouldn’t give this an age range, because I believe its message encompasses more than what its plot conveys. I encourage you to give it a try 🙂 Don’t be discouraged by the simplistic/language or plot, though – you’ll be missing the complexity of the overall plot.