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

“Metaphors are lies.”

4/5 stars.
Paperback, 268 pages.
Read from November 6, 2017 to November 8, 2017.

This is one of those books that has been on my to-read list for an embarrassingly long time. It isn’t that I wasn’t excited to read it, it was just that I missed the hype on this book right after it was published so I moved on to other books instead. It had been on my to-read shelf so long that I feel as if I had already read it!

Did you know?

The title of this book quotes the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1892 short story “Silver Blaze.”

Christopher is a fifteen-year-old boy who understands the world through math as it is the only thing that makes sense to him. Emotions and expressions are a mystery to him so it is hard for him to meet new people and make sense of the world. Christopher is brilliant in mathematics and logic but his behavioural issues mean that he spends his time in a special school. Christopher lives with his father, Ed, as he has been told his mother passed away two years ago. Christopher’s adventures begin when he finds his neighbour’s dog stabbed with a pitchfork. Determined to figure out who committed the act Christoper begins writing everything down in an effort to find the murderer. As Christopher’s murder mystery unfolds, he will learn some fragile and mysterious things about the people around him which take him on an adventure he never would have anticipated.

Did you know?

This book was first published simultaneously in separate editions for adults and children in 2003.

I was shocked to read some of the hateful reviews of this book as many people could not tolerate the style of writing the author used. The book is written in Christopher’s voice and personality, so the verbiage is blunt as Christopher tries to explain situations as he sees them. This included diagrams and random banters about math which result in unintended philosophical rants on life. This unique perspective offered by Christopher is the whole point of the novel. It is meant to allow the reader to purposely see and appreciate the point of view of someone else.  Haddon even says so himself,

“Curious Incident is not a book about Asperger’s. It’s a novel whose central character describes himself as ‘a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties’. Indeed he never uses the words ‘Asperger’s’ or ‘autism’ (I slightly regret that fact that the word ‘Asperger’s’ was used on the cover). If anything it’s a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way. It’s as much a novel about us as it is about Christopher.”- Mark Haddon

I personally, really appreciated the style and its ability to reach out to both a youth and adult audience. Even if I could not understand or appreciate some of the choices that Christopher and his family made I can see the logic in them. Christopher’s parents were the most dynamic characters in the book and Haddon does a great job of depicting them with depth even with Christopher’s limited emotional narrative. Despite the darkness and tone of some parts of this book, the happy ending is extremely satisfying.

Did you know?

The book uses prime numbers to number the chapters.

The most intriguing bit of this book is the exploration of human emotion. It makes you analyze the importance it plays in our personal and social lives and how it drives or destroys it. In a way, it would be nice if things were cut and dry the way that Christopher sees things but at the same time, it would be overwhelming and distressing because nothing else in life works that way.

Did you know?

The story was adapted onto the stage in 2012 and the rights for a movie were purchased in 2011 but it has not yet been produced.

I would say that this book is worthy of the hype it has received. It is unique and different and received accolades for its insight, but as with anything different, there are always haters. If you are looking to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and immerse yourself in a whole new world than this little murder-mystery is right for you.


Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Curious_Incident_of_the_Dog_in_the_Night-Time

http://www.markhaddon.com/aspergers-and-autism