Saturday Read: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
A few years ago while visiting my cousin in Toronto, she gave me this book and said that I absolutely had had had to read it. Of course, it got tossed onto my overstuffed bookshelf and forgotten about for a long time. Recently, I decided to clean up my bookshelf, came across this little gem and decided to finally give in to my cousin’s advice.
“The Curious Incident” (as I’m now referring to it because the name is gigantic) is a story about Christopher John Francis Boone, a boy who is a genius, but has autism. He doesn’t understand the concept of human emotions, but enjoys animals, in particular his neighbor’s dog, Wellington. When he finds Wellington dead by a pitchfork, Christopher is blamed and because he cannot feel emotions, it seems likely that based on his reaction, he is indeed the killer. However, Christopher swears up and down that he is not guilty and vows to become Sherlock Holmes and find the real murderer. Eventually, through his adventures and detective work, Christopher confronts the real tragedy in his life: his parents’ crumbling marriage.
The absolute best part of this book is Christopher and his unique voice. I have no idea how Haddon wrote an entire book as a severely autistic child. He had to completely block-out any emotion he felt and write with only logic. As a writer myself, I don’t know how he avoided that and totally applaud him! The writing is just so different and quirky and definitely steals the show. Also, as a psychology student, I found the insight into the autistic mind so great too. I forgot that grown man had written this book and really believed that Christopher was talking to me!
It’s also interesting to see this boy, who has zero emotion, confronting such emotional situations. When he finds Wellington, he isn’t scared, upset or distraught like you expect; he remains calm and inspects the remains, and while he talks about how he would play with Wellington, there is no trace of sadness. Also, it takes a while to catch on to his parents’ marriage problems, because Chris simply describes what is happening, without any emotion attached to it.
“The Curious Incident” is a total literary feat. The story is wonderful and engaging, but the writing just takes it to another level! Christoper is a endearing narrator and, as I said, steals the shows. If you’re looking to spice up your summer reading list and dig into something a little bit different, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon completely fits the bill!