The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon, Vintage, 2004, 272 pages
Christopher is 15 years old and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He is highly intelligent, loves maths and aspires to one day become an astronaut. While out walking one night, Christopher finds his neighbour’s dog Wellington murdered on the lawn and sets out to solve the mystery of who killed Wellington and write a book about it.
This is not your typical murder mystery novel.
I really liked this book. It was entertaining, funny, sometimes sad, and I couldn’t put it down.
The story is told from Christopher’s point of view, which makes it an easy read. The descriptions are simple and as the are, with nothing assumed. This gives the book a straight-forward quality I found appealing.
Christopher makes for a very endearing character. You could be fooled into focusing only on Christopher’s differences but that would be short sighted, Christopher is brave, clever, and despite his dependence on others to interpret the world and people around him, there is an independence of spirit and thought about him; he doesn’t like crime novels, so he writes one he would like, he investigates Wellington’s killing despite being told not to, because he liked Wellington.
For me the book focused heavily on one character, Christopher. If you like books full of interesting characters, this one might not be for you. It is very difficult, if not impossible for Christopher to see other’s perspectives and so Christopher sees other people through the interpretations of background characters such as Siobhan, Christopher’s main teacher. However, I found that the straight to the point descriptions of Christopher’s interactions with the people around him were enough for me to fill in the blanks left by the book.
I could see the frustration, love and commitment Christopher’s parents have for him and the compassion and understanding shown by Siobhan, even if Christopher cannot. From this I can imagine strong and determined people, they form a support system around Christopher that is both moving and admirable.
The book also featured some very surprising twists that I must confess I did not see coming. As a reader, you are so drawn into Christopher’s thinking that when he is surprised so are you.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it for anyone who enjoys quirky stories, with a charming protagonist and great plot twists.