“ Author: Mark Haddon / Format: CD-Audio / Date of publication: 01 May 2003 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: Cornerstone / Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time / ISBN 13: 9781856867887 / ISBN 10: 1856867887 / Alternative EAN: 9780099456766 „
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time really is a must-read.
I couldn't count with my fingers the number of times this book was suggested to me, and yet I put it off, as like a lot of people, I'm 'not much of a reader'. But the brilliance of this book is that it doesn't matter how much or often, or even what level you read. Mark Haddon's genius writing style not only grabs your attention from the very first, quirky page, but keeps you engrossed and unable stop until the last!
The writing style is sufficiently simple and un-complex, to allow the reader to effortlessly read from front to back in a sitting (which, I'll admit, is exactly what I did). Yet at the same time, it is unique and refreshing, and completely unlike any other story I have read, making it hard to put down.
Not only is it an enjoyable read, but the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is actually quite educational (one of the many people telling me to read it was actually my high school psychology teacher!). The main character (not to give any spoilers) is a unique kid, and the book really enlightens the reader, and makes them think very differently about people with his condition, and see the world from a completely different perspective.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone from age around 12 and up, if you are looking for something fresh and different, and simply inspiring.
After my sister had lent me a whole new pile of books to read (to ad to the precariously piled up stack I still had from her), she announced that the book I will now review for you was one of the best books she had read for ages, I of course read it straight away!
The book in question is - "The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon".
Fifteen year old Christopher has a photographic memory, which makes him incredibly clever being extremely advanced in maths and sciences, what he can't decipher or understand is people or feelings.
After one night fining his neighbours dog murdered (with the help of a gardening fork!) he decides to do some detective work, like his favourite book character Sherlock Holmes.
What he discovers are some shocking truths that have been buried to protect him, but being of a literal mind cannot find it within himself to forgive and forget, taking him on a journey of self discovery of frightening proportions.......
This was a really strange and at times hard book to read.
The character of Christopher is very obviously different to other children of his age, not only does he have a photographic memory but seems to be slightly autistic too, which stops him from letting anyone have any physical contact with himself, which at times causes more trouble s he also has a tendency to strike out and be quite violent (think the character of Rain man).
The book is told from Christopher's point of view, and is written in a diary/book form, with help from his special needs teacher (hence the many footnotes on pages to help explain where Christopher is coming from).
Some chapters are incredibly interesting, with him managing to explain how he views a certain situation, but without the normal feelings clouding the text, with the sad parts being as good as the happy parts, with him even attempting a joke, quite unsuccessfully!
There are chapters however that completely went over my head, these usually being where he has sat and worked out a particular problem with some kind of formula or maths equation, and feels the need to document the entire process, I did tend to skip these parts as they to me didn't add anything to the book, except to illustrate the brain power of the character, and my obvious lack of it!
I can't say if a liked or disliked this book at all, I am glad I read it if for no other reason than I can say I did and took a slight lurch from my normal book choice, but due to the ending I still feel a little short changed and unfinished, though such is life!
This is the type of book that would never really appeal to people, but is a must read!
Price wise this is available via www.amazon.co.uk for around the £4.00 mark.
Thanks for reading x
As an overview this book is all about Christopher who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome who sets out to find out who killed Wellington the standard poodle. It explores the nature of the sydrome and gives a very realistic insight as to how it is to go through life unable to relate to others.
The title comes from a famous quote by Sherlock Holmes (read Silver Blaze by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for the full quotation).
I was very surprised by this brilliant book and picked it up on a whim many years ago.
Not only did it have me laughing out loud at times, it also had me very emotional as to what the boy in the book was going through. This book has given me a great insight into Aspergers Syndrome and I would urge anyone to read it, not only for the reason of awareness, but also because it has an extremely good plot.
It is very good for us 'Sunday readers' too. It is not too long and would be perfect for that lazy afternoon or boring train journey.
Over the last few years I have bought a copy for various family and friends and they have all enjoyed it immensly. Beware the fruity language at times though and it might be worth having a read through first if it is going to be for one of your children or younger relatives just to make sure it would be suitable.
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The first time i as introduced to this novel was in my A level english literature class where this was one of the exam texts that we had to read. If i'm honest i'm not a massive reader and only read occasionally. When i first read what the book was about i mustbe honest, i wasn't looking forward to it much and the plot seemed a little vague and unoriginal.
my initial perceptions continued as i read through the first few chapters and i thought the book was poorly structured and if im honest a little weird. However once we began to analyse the features of the book i began to realise just how clever it was. I began to enjoy it much more as i carried on reading and so would urge other readers not to give up even if it seems like its not your kind of thing at first.
Mar Haddon uses some very interesting techniques in order to give us a great insght into the mind of a child suffering from aspergers syndrome, a form of autism. Without spoiling the book too much all i will say is that thre are many twists and turns throughout as we follow the events that happen to young Christopher and how he learns to deal with his condition as he goes on an adventure to find the truth about his past and family.
i would definately reccommend this book to readers of all ages as it is a fascinating story and is very cleverly told by Haddon.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon was a present - I suspect because of the word dog in the title- but an animal lovers book it is not- quite the opposite when you learn what the curious incident with the dog is.
I am avid reader and have many years under my belt- but I have never read a book like this - it is simply amazing.
It is a story narrated by Christopher a 15 year old who has a type of autism- Apsergers Syndrome. It is a simply wonderfully written insight into the mind of someome suffering from this condition and I believe similar conditions. Christopher has many routines, and works to a timetable, he doesn't like certain colours, he is frightened of strangers and crowds. He is so frightened that he will scream and hit out if faced with any of his fears. He cannot tell a lie but finds very clever ways to circumnavigate the lying issue. Christopher has a wonderful relationship with numbers, but his relatonships with people are difficult.
I always knew that behavioural issues and medical condtions didn't equate to being unintelligent, but some do (like those who always direct questions to the person pushing a wheelchair!!???), but this book makes it clear just how clever Christopher is; his reasoning and logic being very impressive. I can only hope it will enlighten others.
Christopher lives alone with his Father and his pet rat Toby, but his life of routine takes a very unexpected twist when the curious incident happens with a neighbour's dog Wellington. The world he knows so well, and needs to know so well, is turned upside down, he has to face fears and deal with problems he would never have concieved of having to deal with until faced with what he sees as no choice. The small world that he has inhabited for 15 years is growing and it's frightening, very frightening.
I wouldn't decscribe this book as sad, but it is very moving and I believe it has changed my view on the world that Christopher and those like Christopher live in.
I cannot say much more otherwise I would spoil the story for you and I believe that it is important that you take this journey with Christopher.
You will see the world through eyes that you could not have imagined had you not been given this knowledge by the author Mark Haddon.
You will look at the world from a different angle and the view is unexpected.
TEASER-I will tell you that it starts at Chapter 2 and finishes at Chapter 233-why?- well let's say it is PRIMARY for a mathematician- don't undertsand?- well better read the book then.......
This book I recieved as a gift for christmas I can't say I would have picked it up myself it has a picture of a dog on the front with a fork in it ( a gardening fork that is) I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but if I haven't heard of the author before I go for the cover first. Its rrp is £7.99 but you can pick it up on Amazon for around £4.
The story follows Christopher Boone who has Aspergers Syndrome. Christopher likes maths, lists, patterns and he dislikes lies, the colours yellow and brown, and people touching him. Christopher judges his day on how many cars of a certain colour he sees on the way to school. Christopher does not understands little about social behaviours and what is and is not appropriate behaviour.
This story follows Christopher as he embarks on a mission to find out who killed the neighbours dog. Christopher lives with his dad and believes his mother is dead. As Christopher goes about his investigations he unearths all kinds of truths like his mother is infact not dead but had an affair with the womens who dog has been killed husband and has ran off with him.
This story follows Christophers journey from his point of view and shows how people who have aspergers can feel in different situations. This is a book I couldn't put down and it left me wanting to read more books by Mark Haddon.
Its an entertaining laugh out loud read which shows the world from someone elses perspective it makes you think how scary the world can be from someone elses eyes.
Recommended 5 stars.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. It is narrated through the eyes of Christopher Boone, a fifteen year old boy suffering from Asperger's Syndrome. As the front cover may suggest, a poor dog named Wellington across the road from where Christopher lives has been murdered with a pitchfork - but why? It's now time for Sherlock's younger compadre to step up and solve the curious case!
Whilst the premise may sound a little far-out for some readers, it can easily be said that Mark Haddon has done a remarkable job getting into the mindset of a fifteen year old Asperger's sufferer. Attention is drawn cleverly throughout the novel to different moments of love, life and loss - without ever letting up or destroying the illusion that this is a narrative told in retrospect from the perspective of a mentally ill teenage boy.
For fans of relatively complex, or at least fleshed-out and layered narratives - do not be dissapointed! Haddon includes twists and turns galore throughout (none of which I will divulge, don't worry) which are cleverly constructed and revelaed and are genuinely difficult to predict (for me, anyway!) There are also various moments in which you can find yourself laughing, ghasping - and in some cases, come close to tears.
This is not to say that The Curious Incident is not without its flaws. At various moments within the novel, Christopher's attention begins to falter and he will begin to divulge on other, far more arbatrary things. Whilst this is all fine and well, it is clear that in these moments Haddon's voice is explicitly instilled within Christopher. Whilst we are meant to understand he's a highly intelligent boy - certain concepts and phrases seem, at least to me, extremely unbelievable for a character such as Christopher to come up with. Regardless, this is a very pernickety flaw for an almost entirely flawless novel.
I understand now they're teaching it for A Level English Literature - that's how great it is! A true five star gem of a novel - would reccomend it to fans of black comedies, mystery novels or dramas in general. Fantastic!
This is a book that was rather unceremoniously dumped on me by a friend who told me that it was a 'must read'. But I have to admit a murder mystery about a dead dog did not inspire me with great
confidence and I put it down again, only to pick it back up when another friend mentioned that if I wished to go into teaching it could actually be an interesting book to read. And so setting my natural misgivings to one side I started reading, and have to admit was pleasantly surprised.
Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
Author: Mark Haddon
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Christopher John Francis Boone is a fifteen year old boy who can tell you all the countries in the world and their capital cities, a boy who can tell you all the prime numbers up to 7,507. Sounds like a genius, yes? Well, no, because Christopher has a problem with people, he cannot understand people. Animals yes, animals are easy;
'I like dogs. You always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross and concentrating. Also dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk.'
People however are more tricky, because emotions on humans are far more difficult to read, and this is because Christopher has Asperger's Syndrome, which is an autistic spectrum disorder. So the whole book is from his perspective.
As the title of the book shows the book is based, particularly at the beginning, on the murder mystery of a dog named Wellington who has been murdered and Christopher is trying to work out who committed said 'murder'. However as the book goes on the author is less concerned with the dog being killed than with how Christopher lives out his day to day life in a world where no one truly understands him, and where he does not truly understand them. Yes, you do find out who killed the dog but that is made into a completely side issue as you explore fully how Christopher's mind works, and the family dynamics that explode throughout the book.
This appears to be the main aim of Mark Haddon's plot, right from the beginning he makes it clear that he knows that the murder of a dog will not catch and hold the readers attention, and so he makes the book into less of a murder mystery but an exploration of a young mans mind that most people wouldn't bother to try to explore. The family issues that Christopher is going through most 'normal' adolescents would find difficult enough to cope with, but for a young man with Asperger's, who hates change, can't cope with people touching him and has to work things through logically it makes it even worse.
Christopher: As I stated before, he is the main character in the book and the novel is from his perspective. His Asperger's makes it difficult for him to cope with the world around him, although there are several people helping him throughout. Christopher is a truly interesting character because the author has got the characteristics of an upper spectrum autistic child down to a fine art, which suggests that he has either done a lot of research into the topic or he has known one himself. I mean, one of the most telling parts of Christopher's psyche is very early on in the book:
'I rolled back onto the lawn and pressed my forehead to the ground again and made the noise Father calls groaning. I make this noise when there is too much information coming into my head from the outside world...
The policeman took hold of my arm and lifted me onto my feet.
I didn't like him touching me like this.
And this is when I hit him.'
Christopher is one of those characters who if you met him in real life I think most people would probably be driven insane by him, and trust me on this, I have worked with Asperger's children and really struggled to keep my temper on several occasions! In fact, on at least one occasion had to keep myself from strangling one of them. They seem rude, ill-mannered and difficult to cope with, and even knowing that it is not their fault does not always make it any easier! To sum this up, if you were a stranger on the tube station who saw a young teenage lad curled up in a ball groaning, you might just go and ask him if he's ok or needs any help, yes? However, when that teenage boy says 'Stay further away...I've got a Swiss Army Knife and it has a saw blade and it could cut someone's fingers off', it does kind off put a different perspective on things. Christopher is not normal, and on some occasions not even rational, he hates the colour yellow...for no reason other than the fact that it is yellow! Likewise he has good days and bad days purely dependant on how many red or yellow cars he passes on the way to school, 5 red cars is a super good day and 5 yellow cars makes it a black day where he doesn't speak to anyone, doesn't eat anything and Takes No Risks. This doesn't seem very logical, and isn't, and for a boy who spends his entire time working in mathematics, makes very little sense. But that is one of those things that Mark Haddon has got down to absolute perfection, although Asperger's syndrome sufferers tend to see the world in a highly logical manner, there are certain idiosyncrasies that make them individual people...you just need to learn how to cope with them.
The father: Christopher refers to him as Father, and to be honest you can't blame him. Much like Christopher's mother, his dad has great difficulty dealing with him, and cannot always understand why Chris is so different to other children. He loses his temper, yells at him and acts in ways that just won't help when dealing with an Asperger's child (even I know that!), and yet you cannot really fault him. He acts in the way that most other rational adults would on meeting someone who acts in ways which go WAY out from their normal expectations. But equally, it is his father who has stuck by him when his mother abandoned him because she couldn't cope, I know that some of his methods of coping and dealing with both Christopher and the family situation are far from reasonable ways of acting, but you cannot truly blame the man. He is doing the best he can in what seems like an impossible situation.
Other characters: There are plenty of other characters but it is difficult to say a lot about any of them without giving the story line away, and many of them are minor characters who are only used to show that Chris's reactions to other people are not what we would expect from a normal adolescent.
My main complaint would be the sheer amount of maths in the book, I can understand that this is a main part of Chris's mental workings, but unfortunately it is not part of my psyche! I don't do maths if anyone hasn't noted that, and as soon as someone starts throwing mathematic formula and equations at me I just lose the plot, and I cannot be the only one in the world who does so...but this book does throw maths at you, and regularly. Whether in graphs or just explanations, the working of Christopher's mind is so rooted in the scientific that it is difficult to do it in any other way. But that does mean that people like me sit there, staring blankly at a page for a few minutes before shrugging and moving on without understanding a word that has been written. Now this wouldn't be annoying if there was only one or two of these points, but they seem to permeate the book like a single mouldy apple in a fresh fruit bowl.
And as a side point, on occasions it does seem to be 'cringe-comedy' where you are only laughing because you are so grateful that it wasn't you in that situation. And with the smile comes a sigh of relief...
A book well worth reading, particularly if you have an interest in teaching or working with autistic children, as Mark Haddon has actually managed to show an autistic child's brain and the way they work things through in a way that very few other authors have managed...personally I'd recommend it to anyone, as I believe it is a book that is not worshipped as much as it should be! But I think that may be because I was solely impressed at how Haddon had managed to get inside the minds of both Christopher and the people who come into contact with him.On the plus side it's only 268 pages, will take you what 2-3 hours at tops, and is a well spent waste of that amount of time!
The idea of the 'modern' novel has always been that it deals with more than just a story it tries to enter in to the consciousness of the narrator or the characters to give the reader an insight in to their thoughts and emotions. Such 'modern' novels have been around a surprisingly long time, we can go back to such classics as 'Crime and Punishment' by Dostoevsky or 'Hunger' by Knut Hamsun to see how the authors have in these examples described the disturbed minds of the central characters; in one case tortured by guilt and in the latter by physical distress. 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' by Mark Haddon follows this tradition but in an unusual way in that the central character, the readers 'eyes' to the unfolding events are those of Christopher a 15 year old boy living with Autism more specifically Asperger syndrome.
The story itself is very slight. Christopher one morning leaves his house and discoveres the body of his neighbours dog impaled to the front lawn of his neighbour's garden with a pitchfork. Christopher seems emotionally unaffected by the discovery but is keen to work out what has happened. Because of his particular kind of autism his mind is incredibly able to work out logical processes. He is brilliant at maths and problem solving and loves detective stories so it is only natural to him to try and solve the murder of the dog. Unfortunately his attempts to do so land him in trouble with the police and his father and lead him to make several unexpected discoveries about his dead mother.
Hadden attempts to bring out the personality and the thought process of the young boy by having the boy tell the story in the form of a book he has written including diagrams and cartoon to illustrate some of the mathematical concepts that the boy's mind is fascinated by.
In this regard the book reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut's brilliant 60's novel 'Breakfast of Champions' which also used cartoon and sketched widely interspersed throughout the text.
The story is told is a very monotone style mimicking the thoughts of the boy. There is little in the way of perception in the writing and the reader has to slowly unravel the events and their emotional impact by reading into the dialogue and the simple descriptions the feelings that the narrator cannot open himself to. For me this was an intriguing and at the same time frustrating aspect of the novel. The one dimensional thought process that is described in Christopher's own voice is difficult to get used to and it does make you realise how frustrating in can be to deal with. Christopher is loved by his father but it is difficult for him to show this, physical contact has to be kept to a minimum since Christopher cannot cope being touched and will become violent if he is put into a position whereby his mind cannot cope with the complexity of the world outside.
Mark Haddon totally succeeds in giving the reader a glimpse of what it is like to be living with this form of autism both from the part of the individual affected but also from those around him. Paradoxically this is also the aspect that I had most difficulty with and partly why I did not rate the book as highly as many have. I found that Christopher's lack of understanding of the emotional turmoil that was present around him and his inability to interact meaningfully with it proved for me a barrier in empathising with him or the story. Maybe this is a consequence of writing the story in this way, on one hand it does allow the reader to understand the world from Christopher's point of view but at the same time it doesn't allow the emotional connection between the main character and reader to be realised and this is what a truly successful novel needs.
One other failing in the way the book is written is that the narrator is unable to describe the other characters as fully rounded individuals, indeed only the father is dealt with in any depth but even here we arrive at an understanding by reading between the lines and filling in the blanks of what Christopher tells us. This creates a very blinkered view of the world and again this might be the point but the drawback is once again a lack of emotional connection with any of the supporting characters.
One other intriguing aspect of the book is the use of mathematical problems by Christopher to illustrate certain aspects of what is going on in his life. One of the effects of the type of autism that he lives with is an enhanced ability for logical thought process exemplified by his prodigious ability in Mathematics, which had become a key part of his life. I found the maths puzzles intriguing even if some were beyond me and I can imagine that this aspect of the story would appeal to many younger (male) readers. Indeed the format, the style and the length (224 pages) make this book an easy read for most young adult readers 11+ years.
Overall I found the book a worthy attempt at chronicling the growing pains of a young teenager in the same way that 'Catcher in the Rye' or 'Vernon God Little' (a competitor to this book in the Mann/Booker prize of that year) have also done. Of course the inclusion of autism in to the story changes the premise somewhat since the narrator's viewpoint on the surface becomes alien to most readers. However this is still the story of a young man coming to terms in his own way with growing up in a dysfunctional family and the portrayal of this is just as valid and meaningful as that seen in those other novels.
Overall this is a book that is worth reading and although I don't have any knowledge of the condition described and very little of Autism in general it did feel believable to me and I felt that I had learnt something. The book's failings don't outweigh it merits but I did find myself unsatisfied at the end even though I had been educated.
'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time' by Mark Haddon published in paperback (224 pages) ISBN-10: 0099450259/ISBN-13 : 978-0099450252 can be bought from Amazon.co.uk for £3.49 (+p&p) at the time this review was written.
© Mauri 2007
This is a book that is far different from your usual novel. This book contains images, photographs and many other interesting objects, yet is suitable for young adults and adults.
WHO IS CHRISTOPHER?
Christopher Boone is an autistic child, and lives with his father in Swindon. Having witnessed the sight of a neighbour's dog with a garden fork in his stomach, Christopher sets about finding the dog's killer, yet the adventure is far from simple.
Christopher approaches and then hugs the dog, with the highly-distressed neighbour then coming out to confront Christopher about his actions. The police come to the scene (and it's just past midnight), and begin to question the neighbour, Mrs Shears, and Christopher.
Christopher has many things he hates, and will go to extreme measures to stop these things from getting to him. He is a strong boy, aged 15, and can protect himself for sure. The trouble is, many people whom speak to him don't know what they're letting themselves in for. Christopher doesn't disapprove of strangers simply on the grounds that his special school has taught him to be wary of them; he personally doesn't like speaking to them, as he doesn't know them. He likes to have great details about a person's daily life before he actually goes about talking and being friendly with them.
He also hates being touched, even by non-strangers. He will become very annoyed, on edge and perhaps violent when he is touched by another person, which is why it's good to really get to know his personality before you go doing anything else.
Christopher explains his actions thoroughly - in fact, it's a little patronising to the average reader, as you could probably connect what he was saying to grasp the point without all the other explanations in between. He is autistic, however, and so the reader allows for such descriptions. The story is told completely from Christopher's point of view.
In lengthy explanations throughout the story, Christopher explains how he deals with situations where he doesn't want to listen to anything else. He needs to block himself out completely from the world, and has various interesting methods of doing so. He can groan very loudly to override something he doesn't like listening too, or he sometimes tunes a radio into non-existent stations so he can hear 'white noise' which he then turns up to avoid any unwanted distractions from the exterior world.
So, the arrival of a police man, whom of course is a stranger to Christopher caused a bit of uneasy feeling. Christopher really disapproved of being forced by a stranger into a conversation, and so immediately turned his head to the cold, wet grass of Mrs Shears garden, and began to groan.
Completely unawares to Christopher's way of life, the policeman takes offence and tries to get Christopher back to conversational terms. This, however, causes uproar, and Christopher lashes out at the man of higher status after he touched him, punching him fiercely around the face. You know what follows...
...At the police station, where Christopher (a 15 year old autistic boy may I remind you) is locked away temporarily in a cell. He talks of how he likes the cell, because it is approximately a certain amount wide by a certain amount high, and he felt comfortable that there was nobody there to affect his thoughts.
A NEW INSIGHT INTO THE CONDITION
Of course, this action is far different to how I would react. I'd be far more upset, angry etc. (but then, I wouldn't go whacking a policeman around the face!). It gives you a great insight into how autistic people (or boys in a more specific light) perceive their surroundings. I know not a lot of the condition, but this book gave me a great deal of information (though fictional) on how these people react to the norm of society. And don't be confused, by no means are autistic people 'thick'. In fact they're especially clever in some instances, perhaps too clever for comfort.
THE STORY GOES ON
Having been let off with a caution after a ranting and raving father comes on the scene, Christopher really sets about finding the dog's killer. He plans to make an investigation, and Christopher plans on making his book (the very book you're reading!) on the investigation.
When Chris' father finds out though, he's very annoyed, discouraging it completely. His father makes him promise that he won't continue writing the investigation (in a way), but Christopher takes into account great detail about what he has actually promised too. Having found grey areas in the 'promise', Christopher continues with his investigations.
MUSTN'T SAY TOO MUCH!
I really want to say what happens, but I know how annoying that would be for potential readers. What I will say is that Chris' father's confiscation of the diary leads to another mystery to be solved. This is the part of the book that grabbed me the most, as it is so shocking! The use of a narrative hook halfway through the book is excellent, and now that you understand much more about Chris' character, you just can't put the book down!
The start of the book is a little slow, what with the lengthy explanations and all, but at this point, when Chris has 2 mysteries to solve, it's an absolute pleasure to read.
It's adventurous, without doubt, but not extremely dramatic. No where near as dramatic as Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses (see other review). Christopher goes to London to find out more about the complexities about mystery number 2, and it goes deeply into family relationships - I really can't say any more as it will spoil it!
EXTRA ADDITIONS TO THE BOOK
Christopher loves Maths. I mean it - the book could be mistaken for an A-Level Revision Guide at times! Not that there's any real need for you to know of Mathematics to read the book, but the book does contain very thought-provoking and challenging problems and puzzles; and Christopher doesn't half love them.
The puzzle I can't understand, and never will, is the one about the 3 doors. If you are in a prize show on television, and behind two doors are booby prizes, yet behind one door there is a car, then there is 1/3 chance you'll choose the car. Say then, you have chosen a door, then the host reveals that behind one door you haven't picked is a booby prize. Surely this means that there is now 1/2 chance that you will still get a car - right? Wrong! Apparently, there is 1/3 of a chance, and I am told by my English teacher (whom recommended the book) that she was won over that this is indeed the correct answer when she discussed the topic in detail with a Maths teacher (which incidentally is my Maths teacher). Looks like I'm going to have to find out too, because to me - this is absurd!
Christopher also has an obsession for Prime numbers. So, when you start reading the book, don't stand up with a red face, steaming ears and a stormy temper at the thought that Chapter one has been stolen. Oh no - it starts with Chapter 2 because this is the first prime number! It is quite an interesting feature to the book - unique for sure.
Christopher also like science, and it is this hobby that may affect the points of view of some readers. Christopher has established himself in the book as being well clued up in terms of intelligence, but when it comes to science, he completely and utterly discourages the thought of after life and the existence of a creator. Sure, some readers will agree, and some theists may take lightly to this as it is a) fictional and b) from the point of view of one (autistic) person only. Yet his views are explained deeply, and some theists may be angered that they cannot respond to this view - it is a book, not a forum after all.
The book makes for a fascinating read, and I shall definitely read it again. I wasn't quite sure whether to plump for 4 or 5 stars for this book, but I went for four on the basis that it didn't have as much a page-turner feeling as did Noughts and Crosses. It also finished far quicker than that book did, and I couldn't put Noughts and Crosses down. The text in this book is also quite large, and with many drawings, it doesn't really look like a lengthy read.
Nevertheless, there is a big shock halfway through the story that does make you slightly addicted, and this book has given me superb insight into a condition I would have otherwise knew very little about. I'd recommend it to anyone.
Thank-you for reading, I hope it has helped with your view on the product. If anyone does know the answer to that puzzle, please - do tell me!
BENJAMIN RICHES (wbafcben) :)
Fifteen year old autistic boy Christopher Boone decides to investigate when Wellington, a neighbours dog, is murdered. This leads to all sorts of unexpected discoveries, which turn his world upside down.
I first picked up this book a few years ago, after hearing very positive comments about it. I started reading and was instantly hooked its one of those books that is just incredibly difficult to put down.
The book is written in a very readable style from Christophers viewpoint and has clearly been extremely well researched. Beyond some basic general ideas, I didnt really know that much about autism, and, apart from the occasional portrayal in films like Rain Man, its not something you see or hear much about in the media. This book redresses that balance by showing both what it is like to have autism and how it affects those who have to cope with an autistic relative. It offers a fascinating insight into the condition and also holds up a mirror to society to show how it treats people who are a little bit different. Sadly, its not a particularly pretty reflection which is shown.
However, dont run away with the idea that The Curious Incident is a preachy book, because it also remembers to be entertaining along the way. It has a central character who is likeable and sympathetic, yet flawed, because of his condition. Indeed, for large parts of the book, you actually forget that he IS autistic, and its only when he, for exampl, takes a sudden aversion to a food because it is brown that you once again realise how much of an impact autism has on ordinary lives.
The style of the book is wonderfully engaging. By turns sad, funny, tragic and fascinating, its a hugely fun book to read. In fact, start reading it and youll find yourself compulsively turning pages, wanting to read just that little bit more before you stop.
In many ways, though, The Curious Incident is a strange book. The actual title and supposed plot actually has very little to do with the books true subject matter. In fact, this is one of the things which may put some people off reading it, as it lacks what might be considered a coherent narrative or standard structure. Written as if by an autistic person, it leaps around from topic to topic it will be busy describing one thing and then suddenly leap off into how to solve a particularly difficult maths problem or why the writer likes to see a certain number of cars of a particular colour! If you like a standard story, this will drive you mad. However, for me, it adds to the sense of authenticity.
The writing style is similarly strange, with no descriptions of the types of things you would normally expect in a novel, followed by lengthy descriptions of all sorts of strange things! Yet, in a way that its difficult to understand, this is one of the elements which makes the book so readable because it is so different. Its utterly convincing that its been written by someone young who is also autistic.
Another minor grip might be that the characterization ranges from poor to non-existent. Apart from Christopher (through whose eyes we see everything), we get to know very little about the other characters even close relatives like Christophers father. However, this is entirely logical and consistent with the rest of the book. Christopher explains that he cant do descriptions very well. And anyway, since this has adopted the style of someone who is both young and autistic, would you really expect lengthy in-depth descriptions of people. That sort of thing just wouldnt happen.
On the downside, the start and middle of the book are, by far, the most entertaining and most powerful ironic, since these are also the parts in which virtually nothing happens. Once the book starts to broaden its horizons outside Swindon (where it is set), it tails off just a little. Events happen which are, perhaps, just a little too improbable and so some of the sense of realism that was built up during the first part is lost. Not that they veer off into wild fantasy, its just that the credibility which has been built up is strained just a little.
Similarly, the ending to the book feels a little rushed. Having had very little happen out of the ordinary for around 150 pages, you do feel that, suddenly, a lot of events are crammed into the final 70 pages or so. Again, this might be deliberate to show the effects of change on someone with autism. However, for me, the pace of the first part of the book did sit a little awkwardly with the pace of the second part.
Finally, I think the ending lets the book down a little, in that its happy(ish) finale jars a little with the tone of the rest of the book. True, its an open ending, with issues left unresolved, so in that sense it is very realistic. However, both the events leading to it, and the ending itself seem a little unlikely. Given that the rest of the book is so realistic, this is, perhaps, more noticeable than it might have been in another piece of fiction. Having said that, it does end with a note of hope for the future, which is touching.
These are, however, all very minor criticisms. The Curious Incident is, for the most part, a hugely entertaining, very readable, touching, thought-provoking, educational, rewarding and humourous read. If you havent read it yet, you really should try and get hold of a copy as soon as possible.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time
The book has been around for a while now, so can be picked up fairly cheap. A new copy from Amazon will cost around £3.99, whilst second hand copies can be found for as little as £1.
I know that many people have already read and reviewed this but,as a recent convert,thought i would add my own little opinion simply bcause i found this novel so touching and emotional.There are still probably loads of people who have ummed and aaaed about picking this uip like i did-all i can say is go for it.
As has been already mentioned in other reviews the book is written from the perspective of 15 year old Christopher who suffers from Aspergers syndrome;a form of autism which means he finds it increasingly difficult to deal with the world around him in a number of ways reminiscent of obsessive-compulsive disorder,whilst still managing to be highly intelligent with a keen grasp of maths and ambitions to go to university.Some of the things he can not stomach is diffrent foods touching on his plate,the colours yellow and brown(which he quite rationally explains later in the novel),being hugged and being surrounded by lots of people.Along with his dad,his only other really close friend is the teacher at his special school whom he knows as siobhan.It is she who helps him to write down his experiences and gives him advice on how to write it...
The story begins as an ordinary murder mystery with the exception that the murder victim is a neighbours dog stabbed with a garden fork in her front garden.Christopher finds the body and decides to turn detective to discover the culprit-much to the chagrin of his father who thinks Christopher should mind his own business less he gets himself into trouble-espeically after a run-in with local police!!
Before long,Christopher's investigations have uncovered much more than he thought-including a few secrets closer to home than he could have imagined and his simple life is turned upside down on a spiritual,emotional and physical journey that forces Chris to deal with his disabillity in ways he never has before,showing a bravery and maturity he never knew existed...
Certainly diffrent from anything else you will read-this is a lovely piece of work and anyone who doesn't warm to Christopher surely is devoid of any heart.Apart from anything else you find yourself seeing life from an alternate perspective and the bok makes you address many things that perhaps you or i take for granted like travelling on a train on the underground,or like finding your way across town for the first time on your own.
this book warmed my very soul,enlightened me a little to how it must feel living with such a condition -and wrapped it all up in an ingenious piece of literature that can be enjoyed by most ages.
there are many who have at on the fence over this book-don't!!This is one of those books that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page!!!
The voice of Christopher, Mark Haddon's teenaged autistic narrator, is as unique and original as a reader is likely to find. His hilarious yet painfully logical explanation of why he hates metaphors but doesn't mind similes will evoke laughter that is more suitable to at-home-in-the-bed-reading than to out-in-public-getting-stared-at-like-the-guy-who talks-to-lamp-posts-reading. Above and beyond the fresh story-telling is the truly interesting plot of canine murder and suburbian divorce. Don't be fooled though, this is the story of truly flawed and truly lovable characters who could live next door to you. A soap opera on paper it is not, rather it is well thought out conflict and not so perfect but utterly satisfying resolution.
A CHARACTER WITH ASPERGERS SYNDROME
I was in two minds when I first found out about this book whether to read it or not. This is because the author of this book has a character in it who has Aspergers Syndrome which is an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder myself and knowing the complexities of it, I was in doubt as to how someone writing this book could possibly give an accurate account of this disorder if they hadn't got it themselves. I am glad though having read this book that I gave the author the benefit of the doubt because I can say from first hand experience that he has really put across in this book not only what Aspergers Syndrome is, but more importantly what it really feels like.
When I first brought this book I was unaware that there were two versions of it. A book with a blue cover that contains quite a bit of swearing, and a book with a beige cover that eliminates the swearing. I got the blue book but I have to say I didn't find there was an incredible amount of swearing in it, but if I had of known about the other beige cover book I would have probably opted to read that one instead.
This book is particularly aimed at the young adult reader, but would also appeal to adults who are interested in finding out more about Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
This is a book that is quite entertaining to read at times, but also has quite a sad and touching side to the story in places.
The book starts off with a mystery to be solved with regards to a murder. However this is not of the murder of a person, but that of a murder of a dog. The main character in this book is called Christopher and he has Aspergers Syndrome. He finds the dead dog and decides he is going to find out who killed it. With all of Christopher's problems this proves to be quite a task as he doesn't understand social skills very well and doesn't like talking to strangers and ends up getting himself into quite a bit of trouble.
Christopher has many ways that would too many be considered strange. For example if he sees 4 red cars in a row on his way to school that means it will be a good day, and if he sees 4 yellow cars in a row that means it will be a bad day. If one type of food touches another on the same plate then he won't eat it. He has his own set of rules and I think that this is his way of feeling some control in a world that can at times be very confusing for this 15yr old boy.
Christopher lives with just his Dad, and his Dad has always had quite a lot of patience with regards to Christopher's problems, but when her finds out that he is investigating the killing of the dog things change between there relationship. His Dad wants him to drop the investigating immediately but Christopher is too caught up in it as he loves animals and wants to get to the bottom of things now he has started.
This only leads to more trouble for Christopher as he goes in search of the killer and finds out a lot more than he bargained for. This leads him onto another mystery which will end up turning his whole world upside down.
MARK HADDON - THE AUTHOR
Mark Haddon graduated in 1981 with a degree in English. He later went on to work for several organisations where he would work with children and adults who had many different mental and physical handicaps. This would explain how he has such a good understanding towards Christopher's problems. He has been involved with many television projects and has also won 2 BAFTA's. He has wrote now many children's books. 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night' was the first novel he wrote for the older reader.
The ISBN number for this book is: ISBN 0-099-45025-9
This book was first published in 2003. It is priced at £6.99, but is available for less on E-bay and Amazon.
There is very little that is new and original in the world of books. Most of the themes have already been covered and even established writers are revisiting already well trodden ground in search of inspiration, such as with Dean Koontzs Frankenstein. What this means is that when you find something that is a break from the norm, you should grab it and cherish it. Mark Haddons The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time is one such book.
One night, Christopher Boone finds that his neighbours dog has apparently been murdered. As he likes dogs and detective stories, he decides to investigate until he can find out who murdered the dog. During the course of his investigation, other information comes to light that affects his whole life.
Sounds pretty standard so far, I guess, apart from the murder victim being canine rather than human. But what makes this book so unique is not the story itself, but the telling of it. Our narrator and main character, Christopher, is fifteen years old and has Aspergers Syndrome.
This affects everything about the book, because it affects pretty much everything about Christophers life. What he eats, to the way he acts, Christopher is pretty unique in literature. But most importantly, the way Christopher thinks and speaks is what drives the narrative in this story. The details and the reasons why he does things seems to be very important to him, so everything is described perfectly and minutely and an explanation is given for everything.
Whilst this makes things very simplistic, it also makes them very visual. Christopher describes literally everything that is happening around him and everything he sees. The detail is such that you can literally picture what he is seeing in your own mind and, having been to some of the places he describes, I can certainly confirm that his descriptions are spot on.
This style is strangely compelling in parts as well. At first I thought it would be a little too simple to hold my attention, but there is a beauty in the ease of it and the words and pages fly by. Even the addition of diagrams in parts, which help Christopher describe complex ideas, dont act as a distraction, but in the way they were intended, as an enhancement to the text.
Where this writing style really comes into its own is when Christopher isnt having the best of times. When hes hurting, especially emotionally, the detail in the writing brings that into sharp focus and you can really get a feeling for what is going through his mind and his heart. Fortunately, the same is also true when hes enjoying himself, so you get to share his high points as well.
I dont personally know anyone with Aspergers, or anyone with dependents with Aspergers, so I dont know for sure how accurate a depiction this would be of someone like Christopher. But assuming it is correct, this is not just a wonderful story, its a great insight into the life of someone with Aspergers. It cant help to educate the reader at the same time as providing a reading experience Ive not seen matched anywhere.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is more than the title lets on and more than anything. Its widely available, from £5.49 at play.com, £3.99 from Amazon, £3.75 from Green Metropolis, down to £1.50 from the Amazon Marketplace or from 50p from eBay. My copy was £2.50 from a charity shop, purely because Id heard it was worth a read.
If Id known sooner it was going to be THIS worth reading, Id have bought it months ago. If youve not read it, you should, as its a whole new experience and a complete delight on so many levels.
Christopher is 15 and lives in Swindon with his father. He has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. He is obsessed with maths, science and Sherlock Holmes but finds it hard to understand other people. When he discovers a dead dog on a neighbour's lawn he decides to solve the mystery and write a detective thriller about it. As in all good detective stories, however, the more he unearths, the deeper the mystery gets - for both Christopher and the rest of his family.