Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Author: Mark Haddon
Publisher: Vintage
Pages: 272
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

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.
I went into this book expecting a charming mystery told through the eyes of a teen boy, Christopher, who happens to have Asperger's syndrome. Turns out it is not really a mystery at all. What happened to the dog, Wellington, was cleared up really quickly and the rest of the book focuses on Christopher's reaction to his dysfunctional family.

I really loved the unique structure of this book, it is written by Christopher as a project and I loved all the quirky pictures, diagrams and chapters labelled as prime numbers. I think the portrayal of Christopher's thought process was very well done and it really gives insight into how Asperger's affects the mind.

I really loved the first half of the book but by the second half, I found Christopher's perspective to be quite tedious. I did not care for the endless descriptions of math problems to be honest. There is also a distinct lack of any likeable characters in this book. I found it to be quite depressing because Christopher doesn't understand that the adults in his life all have some serious issues. I could sum up the plot in maybe 2-3 sentences as it really wasn't substantial.

I did enjoy this book but it wasn't amazing. An interesting read if nothing else.


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