Friday 30 May 2014

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

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour's dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

This was a gift from my boyfriend, who is also autistic. Probably should have given me this about 6 years ago, would have helped me to figure out the way he thinks a lot. But never mind that, let's focus on Christopher. A 15 year old boy, living in Swindon with Aspergers Syndrome, finds a murdered dog in his neighbour's garden. Confused as to why anyone would hurt a dog, he is found by his neighbour and subsequently the police. Most people with autism, I've found, don't like to be touched, so when the policeman tries to take him arm, Christopher lashes out. And that is how Christopher spends an evening in jail.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this and was, in my opinion, a very good portrayal of autistic's way of thinking, I did find this quite difficult to read. It was written without emotion, purely factual, and although I would expect nothing less from an autistic narrator, it was very distant. However, thinking about it, I think the way people's treated Christopher made me more uncomfortable than the way Christopher saw things. He was very logical but people are not logical, they rule with emotion so when a strange boy is counting cars on the way to school or holds his fingers in his ears because of the noise, they don't understand why and this made them usually very rude. It made my heart ache to see how little everyone understood him. 

As I said, my boyfriend and his younger brother is autistic, so I knew what was happening and why. I like to think that this helped with my reading and understanding of this book but there's no way of knowing. I do think it did change the way I saw Christopher and his mindset; I already knew that this was how autistic people think so it didn't come as a surprise or something to get used to. 

Anyway, Christopher has quite a bit more than the mystery of the dead dog to deal with like his mother's temper, his father's misunderstandings and both his parents lies. Christopher doesn't deal with emotions well so the shocking parts that made me gasp, Christopher didn't bat an eye. Like I've said, my knowledge of autism made this easy to comprehend, practically predictable even. All in all, I think this gives us an insight into a very difficult to comprehend mind alongside a great story. 

Published 15th April 2004 by Vintage. 

1 comment:

  1. I've been meaning to read this for a while, having heard my English teacher talk about it being her favourite book. It sounds really interesting . I think I'll definitely pick it up after your review, as I love books about tough topics!

    -Sophie :)