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.
I picked up a copy of this from the library upon seeing that my local cinema were going to showing the theatre production and following a bit of Twitter chat it appears that I’m a bit late to the party on this one.
Firstly, I don’t think I’ve read a book with 233 chapters before…well there’s not technically that many of course, all the chapter titles are prime numbers so the book starts at chapter 2 which you may think a bit odd when you first open the book but it’s a nice touch given the theme of the book.
This book is narrated in a very matter of fact manner. Christopher tells his story in a very practical and restrained tone, which can often come across as aloof or even difficult but it’s just his way and the way that those with Asperger’s deal with every day life. I really liked this quote…quite true:
“…I’m meant to say that they have learning difficulties or that they have special needs. But this is stupid because everyone has learning difficulties because learning to speak French or understanding Relativity is difficult…”
Short, quick chapters full of mathematical equations that were way beyond me with some very sad and poignant scenes. However don’t go into this book thinking it’s a proper mystery in the usual sense. Don’t get me wrong, Christopher has a go and does his best but he’s quite limited in where he’s allowed to go and also this is against his father’s wishes, the mystery part was a little deflating for me if I’m honest and a bit easy.
This book also highlights how hard it is to care for young people with a learning difficulty and I totally empathised with the stress and frustration felt by Christopher’s parents. I can’t imagine how hard this must be in real life.
Reminds me of The Shock of the Fall which I read recently but not quite as good for me but an interesting and realistic take nevertheless.
Connect with the author Mark Haddon