Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time coverContext

I have first heard about this book by Mark Haddon in a university class. The teacher’s sales pitch was that the narrator was autistic and therefore his view of the world was quite unique.

Now, the main character of my first novel is autistic too. I didn’t mean to make her, it just happened. That being said, I became curious about how this other autistic character was portrayed and consequently bought the book.

Review

I was hooked from the very first chapter’s number: 2. Yep, who cares about conventions, right? I’m all for throwing them through the window when they don’t suit my taste and have no disastrous consequences for anyone. So I started bonding right there and then with the narrator and protagonist, Christopher Boone.

It is nowhere mentioned that Christopher is autistic – although it is obvious to anyone who has basic knowledge on the subject – so I don’t see why people insist on using autism as a sales pitch. It is quite obvious that the writer didn’t want to put a label on him. And in fact, I wouldn’t even say that his autism was one of my favourite aspects of the book. On the contrary, I found him very “textbook” autistic – as in very stereotypical. Which is okay, but there is so much more to this book than that.

Christopher might seem very different at first, especially for a close-to-100% neurotypical reader (which I’m not, I’m 50-50 so to me he wasn’t that much “weirder” than the 90%+ neurotypical characters I read about all the time), but as the story progresses I think most people could realize he’s more like them than they would ever have thought. Which is often the case with anyone you think is “different”.

The characters are all unique, believable and not always very sympathetic. I had very mixed feelings for almost every character in the book (except Mrs Alexander, she’s the best). They were mostly loveable, but then they did that thing of which I disapproved (a different thing for each). However, that’s part of what made them so realistic. I felt deeply, in particular, for Christopher’s parents.

That being said, to me the most interesting aspects of this book were the plot and theme. Although Christopher keeps saying that “this is not a proper novel”, I think it is. There are several interesting mystery and adventure elements, but mostly it’s a story about life and how different people deal with it.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time cover 2The main theme, to me, was that of courage. In the later half of the book, Christopher shows the kind of real-life courage that cannot fail to have an impact on me. Some other characters also show their courage… or lack of it.

Finally, this novel is refreshingly non-moralistic. Good people do good things and bad things. They care for the people they like and want to protect them, but they hurt them too, sometimes. They don’t mean it. Sometimes emotions cloud their judgement, sometimes they can’t understand how the other person thinks, and sometimes, one person’s needs are simply too much for what the other person can give. There are all three examples through the story and I loved that

Rating: 9/10

Who would I recommend this to? Everyone. Except if you’re reading The Hound of the Baskervilles at the same time because there are spoilers. And yes, of course I was reading The Hound of the Baskervilles at the same time or it wouldn’t have been funny: I had meant to finish it before reading this book, but then lack of time happened and I didn’t want to review two classics in a row so I put Sherlock on hold only to see my mistake when Christopher told all there was to know about its plot. Oh well.

Psst! I also posted a “life update” on my Facebook page.

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14 thoughts on “Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    • I know! Same for me. If it wasn’t for my monthly review, I might only read one whole book every 2 months and that’s quite far from my resolution of reading one book every 2 weeks… ^^;

      Like

    • Thank you!

      I am unsure how much attention the book got in English-speaking environments, but I sure think it deserves more attention. The only time I’ve heard of it was in that college class 10 years ago (luckily, I got a very good memory, haha). ^^;

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Reading it about a decade ago, I don’t quite recall most parts of it. One of my fave ever, nevertheless. And this is where I knew about Monty Hall problem for the very first time. And yes, your words “..refreshingly non-moralistic” do ring true. 🍸

    Liked by 1 person

    • I heard it first from the movie 21. It’s a tricky one, it took me some time to grasp, but I think I finally get it.

      I used to love maths and then hit a streak of unpleasant math teachers in high school (really only 2 but I had the worst of them 2 years in a row) and that hurt my interest badly. Maybe I should pick up some math problems again some day; they used to help clear my head and that’s something useful for someone with anxiety.

      Thank you for passing by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this review – you’ve reminded me that I really need to get around to reading this one! I read Mark Haddon’s short story collection The Pier Falls a few months ago and thought it was phenomenal. Time I picked up the novel he’s best known for…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the way you put this book into words as it is a personal favorite of mine – I almost went to the play in West End when I was in England around last Christmas (I saw you put a photo of the poster), but unfortunately there weren’t any seats left. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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