Newest Review: ... syndrome. The novel is a twist on the average murder mystery, where Christopher plays the role of main suspect as well as nosey detec... more
Member Name: malteser1987
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: Adult Edition - Mark Haddon
Advantages: Excellent and eye opening read!
Disadvantages: Some adult language but nothing too severe
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of those books which stay with you for a long time after you've read it. 'Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year', Mark Haddon has created a gem of a book through the voice of Christopher Boone - a 15 year old boy who turns detective when he finds the neighbour's dog speared with a pitchfork on the front lawn. An unusual premise for a book, but what you begin to realise quite quickly that Christopher is no ordinary boy - he has Asperger's Syndrome which brings us into his very exclusive, unique and tailored life governed by routine, fact and the familiar. The more you read, the more you realise that the book has relatively little to do with the death of a dog, and more of the world that is outside of Chris' field of vision - that of his parents, his mother who apparently died of a heart attack, of the pressures of raising a child which such a profound condition and the effect he has on his family. You realise how alienated he is from his peers and from 'strangers' but he doesn't feel alienated - his favourite places are hiding in small, lonely, dank holes where no one else will go. There are some surprising twists and turns in this book and because we are sitting in Christopher's head throughout it, we are led into his misconceptions of the world around him. The more the reader learns, the quicker we begin to realise the naivety of Chris and the closed world in which he lives, even beginning to understand and empathise with his family's secrets, even though Chris innately hasn't the capacity to forgive the major lies in his life.
Christopher Boone is the 15 year old mathematical genius by which we hear this whole tale. He is writing this book with guidance from Siobhan who is his school carer although he only relays conversations he has with her. She appears to have a deep understanding of dealing with his condition and being very honest, simple and straightforward in the way she speaks to him. Christopher's father is a prominent character as he is the main staple person in Christopher's life and he faces many trials and tribulations contending with Chris' needs i.e. he won't eat anything yellow or brown, or if his food has been touching on his plate etc... The various neighbours in the community play their part in Chris' search for the murderer of an innocent dog, as well as Mrs Shears, his immediate neighbour whose dog was the unfortunate victim. There are other characters besides, whose significance grows but you may begin to piece things together if I mention them!
This book was an interesting read - it took me 3 days of reading at night to get through it and I have to say, it was incredibly insightful. I did laugh quite a bit and stopped to read passages out to my partner as in a lot of ways you could pick this book up at a different chapter and it won't feel like it relates to the rest of the book until you get through it. The book is written in the way that Christopher thinks; you learn how he copes with everything, how his mind sorts information and which bits he just doesn't get - jokes for example or if someone doesn't answer his question as directly as he asked it then he simply asks them again in the exact same way until they say something that makes sense. The use of illustrations and maths also allowed me to realise that his intelligence is incredible - that people with Asperger's syndrome may lack social skills and understanding, but some can formulate complex and intricate ideas and answers, almost using more of the brain then your regular human being. It really makes you realise how much we dither our way through conversations and rely on body language and facial cues in ways that are impossible for Christopher and that for someone going into teaching, I am relatively unaware of the depth of this condition and how it needs to be approached. He is highly intelligent and articulate despite his condition, and that is something many people will overlook. This book was a real eye opener and if anything my opinion has ended up being me dissecting what I have learnt from it (which can't be a bad thing if I'm still thinking about it and learning from it days after putting it down!) Well worth a read for a teenage and adult audience as I think what can be taken from it is hugely beneficial and interesting!
Summary: An incredible insight into an interesting, intricate world