Book Reviews

Book Review: The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime by Mark Haddon


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

Publication Date: July 31st, 2003

Publisher: Vintage

Genre(s): YA, Mystery, Contemporary

Series Status: Stand alone

Pages: 272

Format and Source: Paperback, Owned

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. 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 constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

Recently you might think I am being too generous with my ratings, but this book deserves these ratings. I had heard people rant and rave about its brilliance, but when I read the blurb I just shrugged and went, “Ehh, sounds alright.” I only bought it because it was buy one get one half price. But boy, was I mistaken.

The plot is simple. It is about a boy named Christopher Boone who has Asperger’s Syndrome and is amazing at Maths finding a dog impaled on a pitchfork, obviously dead. He takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of the dogs murder, and with it finds out a lot more than he originally anticipated.

This was one of the most cleverly written books I have ever come across as it is written from Christopher’s perspective as if he was writing the book himself. He specifies his dislike of metaphors, his ignorance towards phrases such as ‘hit the hay’ or ‘you’ll catch your death’, his explains the logic behind his beliefs that a certain number of a certain colour of car can dictate whether it will be a good day in a way which makes sense, and his absolute hatred of the colours yellow and brown. This is written in such a straight forward manner with no flamboyancy that you become fully immersed in his mind. His idiosyncrasies become normal to you in the way it is normal to him. You also see other characters, such as his parents, in an entirely way than you would if the story was told from another perspective. This is due to the fact that Christopher’s point of view tends to be less biased, and you can only judge their character by their behaviour – as his reaction towards them is not always logical.

Overall this book is absolutely brilliant. It is insightful and would make the most mundane of drama seem so much more unique and interesting. This is a book where the plot is not what hooks you, it is the execution. When I recommend this to you I really do want you to read it. Also it part of the buy one get one half price deal at WH Smith’s which basically means you can’t get away with it.

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