Book Review – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Photo of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

This book was published in 2003 and has won or been nominated for a number of literary awards.

The story is told by Christopher, a 15- year-old boy with a photographic memory. He knows all the countries of the world and their capitals, and every prime number up to 7,057. He is very good at maths and science, but not very good at understanding other people. Christopher also doesn’t like to be touched, and he hates the colours yellow and brown. Sometimes these things make life difficult.

When Christopher finds his neighbour’s dog dead on the lawn, he decides to investigate – just like his favourite (logical) detective Sherlock Holmes. Christopher finds out a lot more than he bargained for along the way and meets many new people on his journey as he grapples with the new information that has come to light.

Author Matt Haddon wrote about his book: “It’s a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a new and revealing way. The book is not about any specific disorder.”

Despite this, many of the situations that arise for Christopher are resonant for people with high functioning Autism and/or Asperger’s. The narrator’s literal view of the world and the use of explanatory diagrams allows the reader to engage with his reality and better understand Christopher’s actions. The reporting writing style and short chapters make this a straightforward read with a satisfying outcome.

By Jane Rushton – CLA Receptionist & Executive Assistant 2014 – 2018 (retired May 2018)