The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time by: Mark Haddon was a book that took me by surprise.  Recommended by a friend, and looking for something to read, I picked this up at the local mall bookstore (fortunately they have an English section), and paid about twice as much for it as I would have in the States.  But it was worth it.  

The fictional story is written in first-person by a teenage autistic boy named Christopher.  Christopher’s autism makes it impossible for him to understand human emotion which makes for some very powerful scenes and perceptions when he is recalling experiences with his struggling parents.  Christopher is however blessed with an extremely logical/mathematical mind.  His whole world is understood and perceived through this logic that is void of emotion.  Here is the cover summary: 

“Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057.  He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions.  He cannot stand to be touched.  And he detests the color yellow. 

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, fifteen-year-old Christopher is autistic and everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him.  He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket.  Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructed universe is threatened.  Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favorite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes.  What follows makes for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.” 

I’ve had the privilege to work for people with autism, and this book helped me understand more clearly what it must be like to interact with a world that doesn’t fully understand you, and that you don’t fully grasp.  It was moving not only from Christopher’s perspective, but also to watch as Christopher’s very human parents tried their best to love and understand him.

2 thoughts on “The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time

  1. sounds like a good book, i’m going to have to read it as well, especially since i am working people who have autistic tendencies. also i want to read that year of living biblically too, it sounds pretty funny

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