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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Mark Haddon – 6/10

“I think I would make a very good astronaut. To be a good astronaut you have to be intelligent and I’m intelligent… You also have to be someone who would like being on their own in a tiny spacecraft thousands and thousands of miles away from the surface of the earth and not panic or get claustrophobia or homesick or insane.”

curious incident

Christopher Boone loves maths, finds people confusing, hates yellow and brown (especially in foods), and likes dogs. So when he discovers his neighbour’s dog has been murdered in the night, he sets out to sleuth, discovering rather more about his family than he had bargained for.

I struggled with the first hundred pages or so of this and it was only the fact that I was on the world’s longest detour on the way home and had nothing else with me to read and my phone battery was dying that kept me going. Once I got onto Christopher’s adventure to London, I found it much easier to keep reading, although quite sad and pitiful.

The tone is unflinchingly honest, including some glorious adult opinions which flow unfiltered through Christopher’s dialogue. While it requires a lot of hard work, the portrayal through the eyes of a fifteen-year-old boy with Asperger’s permits Haddon to write his protagonist as much more observant and grown-up than would typically be credible for a teenager – interspersed with musings on the awesomeness of red cars.

I can’t speak for the authenticity of the portrayal of Asperger’s, although Haddon makes a good attempt with the black-outs and the strange treatment by others and the obsession with colours. I’ve read a few other books which attempt to portray Asperger’s or autism, although mostly from the perspective of a parent (House Rules, which I don’t seem to have reviewed yet, and Love Anthony).

I actually read this because friends wanted to go to the play which is on in London at the moment. I think I would enjoy the play more than the book, given that the swathes of exposition could simply be demonstrated.

Probably worth it. I wasn’t convinced but I know there are plenty of very high opinions of it out there.

Additional information:
Copy from Bookmooch or some other second hand source.
Publisher: Vintage, 268 pages (paperback).
Order The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timefrom Amazon*
* this is an affiliate link – I will be paid a small percentage of your purchase price if you use this link, which goes towards give-aways and site hosting

1 thought on “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Mark Haddon – 6/10”

  1. I really enjoyed this book. It was the first book I read that was written as though from the viewpoint of someone with Aspergers, so it could be that I was just more receptive to the newness of the technique. Since I read it, my son had to read it for school, and he thinks the book is awful. If I read it again, I might see it as more flawed.

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