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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon

February 9, 2012

In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Christopher, the main character, is an autistic teenaged boy who lives with his father, doesn’t like new things, and is amazing at math. One evening, when he is out for a late night walk, he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, dead on the side of the road.  He decides to find out who killed Wellington and, through his detective work, discovers clues to his mother’s death and about his mother and father’s relationship.

The author, Mark Haddon, does a good job of capturing Christopher, even though the book is in first person. Readers understand that Christopher has autism without Haddon telling us. For example, Christopher says, “I find people confusing.  This is for two main reasons.  The first main reason is that people do a lot of talking without using any words.  Siobhan says that if you raise one eyebrow it can mean lots of different things. It can mean ‘I want to do sex with you’ and it can also mean ‘I think what you just said was very stupid.’ ” This quote shows that Christopher can’t read emotions or other social cues.

Christopher is a very unusual main character. He tells us why he is “writing” this book and when. He doesn’t always stick to the topic; for example he’ll rant for a few pages about a complicated math problem. In time, I found the math problems interesting, and I wanted to solve them. I think Haddon did this on purpose, to show the personality of Christopher, and it worked. It made me feel like I knew this boy.

I rated The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time a nine.  The reason I didn’t give the book a ten is the ending: it didn’t give me enough closure about Christopher’s relationship with his dad. But if I were you, I wouldn’t let my opinion stand in the way of your reading the book, because classmates of mine loved the whole book, including the conclusion.

Still, I liked the plot and characters and think the book was worth reading. I believe that both boys and girls would be intrigued by it. Everyone should read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and learn about this remarkable boy.

Vintage; 226 pages


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