The Curious Incident of the Dog
in the Night Time
Christopher has autism and is
unable to understand like others. He finds his neighbor’s dog dead. His mother has died, according to his father. His
attends a special school and is in the process of studying for his A level math test. His teacher encourages him to write
a book. He feels that finding out who murdered the dog would be a good detective story and an excellent topic for his book.
His dad and neighbors discourage him from asking questions, but he is determined anyway. His father takes his book away from
him and disposes of it in the trash can. When Christopher attempts to retrieve it, the book is no longer there. He thinks
his father has hidden the book and is determined to find it. He eventually did find the book along with letters from his mother.
He finds out that his father has lied to him and his mother is alive. His father also admits he has killed the neighbor’s
dog because he was mad at her for dumping him. He becomes extremely frightened of his father and makes an attempt to find
his mother. Because he has such a photographic memory, he does eventually find his mother. He has to slowly learn to trust
his father again after he and his mother return from London.
Haddon presents a very emotional
approach in this novel. He depiction of an autistic child and his inability to cope without others and the outcome of the
story give readers a hope that children may be able to cope and survive better than you may think. The realism in the story
has readers filled with compassion for Christopher. It is sometimes sad and sometimes funny. Haddon keeps the reader in suspense
about what will happen to Christopher and will he reach his mother.
One reader states that “Haddon
has taken an original idea and executed it superbly. It should go down well with geeky teenagers, but The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a "cross-over" book which will also appeal to adults
New York book reviewer Jay McInerney comments that “Haddon manages
to bring us deep inside Christopher's mind and situates us comfortably within his limited, severely logical point of view,
to the extent that we begin to question the common sense and the erratic emotionalism of the normal citizens who surround
him, as well as our own intuitions and habits of perception (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9905EED81E30F936A25755C0A9659C8B63).
A teen reader comments that “Mark Haddon’s novel was something
you just cannot put down until you turn the very last page. It’s a fast-paced plot, with twists and unexpected turns
that keep you wanting to read on and on about Christopher’s journey toward realizing the truth about himself and those
around him” (http://www.layouth.com/4_32_11.htm).
Haddon, Mark. 2003.The Curious
Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. New York: Doubleday.
Amazon.com Book Reviews. http://www.amazon.com
Lee, Stephanie. 2005. Book Reviews. L.A. Youth Book Club. http://www.layouth.com/4_32_11.htm. Accessed June 25, 2005.
McInerney, Mark. 2003. The
Remains of the Dog.The New York Times Book Review Desk.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9905EED81E30F936A25755C0A9659C8B63. Accessed June 23, 2005.