The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishment...

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Title:The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author:Mark Haddon
Rating:
ISBN:1400032717
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:226 pages

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

  • Oriana
    Mar 18, 2007

    This is the most disassociating book I've ever read. Try to read it all in one sitting -- it will totally fuck with your head and make you forget how to be normal.

  • karen
    Apr 08, 2007

    pooƃ ʎɹǝʌ ʇou puɐ ʎʞɔıɯɯıƃ ʎɹǝʌ sı ʞooq sıɥʇ

    if you want to read an excellent book about autism in a young person, read

    . this book is like hilary swank - you can tell it is trying really hard to win all the awards but it has no heart inside. and yet everyone eats it up. C0ME ON!!

    no one likes gimmicks.

  • Sean
    Aug 29, 2007

    This book I read in a day. I was in a Chapters bookstore in Toronto (that's like Barnes and Noble to the Americans in the crowd) and anyway I was just browsing around, trying to kill time. When suddenly I saw this nice display of red books with an upturned dog on the cover. Attracted as always to bright colours and odd shapes, I picked it up. It's only about 250 pages or so. I read the back cover and was intrigued. I flipped through the pages and noticed that it had over One Million chapters. I

    This book I read in a day. I was in a Chapters bookstore in Toronto (that's like Barnes and Noble to the Americans in the crowd) and anyway I was just browsing around, trying to kill time. When suddenly I saw this nice display of red books with an upturned dog on the cover. Attracted as always to bright colours and odd shapes, I picked it up. It's only about 250 pages or so. I read the back cover and was intrigued. I flipped through the pages and noticed that it had over One Million chapters. I was doubly intrigued.

    So I walked over to the far wall of the bookstore to sit and begin to read a few pages. I always do this to ensure that I don't waste what little money I have on a book possessing nothing more than a flashy cover. (I do the same at the cinema - if I don't like the first 20 minutes, I get a refund. Restaurants, too: if I don't like the first ten bites, I walk out on the bill).

    This is a book written by a Child Developmental Psychologist - I think that's the right term... - anyway, a doctor who works with mentally or physically challenged youngsters. The novel itself is a first person tale written by a high-functioning, mentally challenged boy in England who wakes up one morning to find his neighbor's dog dead on his lawn. The boy's teacher suggests he should write about the incident, which he eagerly sets out to do. So we have his first "novel", "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time". He plays Inspector and tries to solve the mystery as Sherlock Holmes would do...

    Of course, if he's going to write a book, that means he can take control. He hates the way other books have chapter numbers that increase sequentially (1,2,3). He prefers prime numbers and will number his chapters in sequential primes - hence, by the end of the book, you're reading chapter 123,314,124 or whatever (I ain't no math guy ;)

    Now then, he also writes about other things in his life and through his perspective you get some tear-jerking moments of true, unobstructed humanity: the way his parents broke up because of his state, how he has all these dreams about being someone great and going to a top college, even though you know that his situation will never really allow it.

    Anyway. I read this book cover to cover sitting on the floor of that Chapters bookstore. By the end of it I was absolutely bawling my eyes out. Never cried so much in my life. In fact, as I type this and think back on that story, I'm dripping on my keyboard (and I'm at my office!). However - these are tears of joy. The boy does it. He can do anything. It's the most uplifting book I've ever read.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels anything deep down inside.

  • Joe
    Nov 21, 2007

    The concept is interesting: narrating the novel through the POV of an autistic boy. The chapters are cleverly numbered by prime numbers, which ties in with the novel. It has interesting illustrations and diagrams to look at. However, I would not recommend this because it disappointed me and I couldn't, in good conscience, tell anyone to read a book I was disappointed in.

    I guess my disappointment lies in the fact that not only did my book club tout this as a mystery novel but also many of the li

    The concept is interesting: narrating the novel through the POV of an autistic boy. The chapters are cleverly numbered by prime numbers, which ties in with the novel. It has interesting illustrations and diagrams to look at. However, I would not recommend this because it disappointed me and I couldn't, in good conscience, tell anyone to read a book I was disappointed in.

    I guess my disappointment lies in the fact that not only did my book club tout this as a mystery novel but also many of the literary reviews I read as well. What I was expecting was an exciting roller coaster ride mystery about an autistic boy trying to find the killer of his neighbor's dog and, as he slowly sleuths out the killer, finds himself embroiled in dangerous life threatening situations. Kind of like Tartt's The Little Friend told from an autistic POV.

    However, The Curious Incident... is not a mystery in any way, shape or form and because of this, the autistic POV begins to wear thin by the second half of the novel remaining sometimes fascinating yet sometimes tedious. Instead, you get a novel that starts off as a promising murder mystery. At the first half of the novel, the mystery is solved. Or rather we're unceremoniously told who is the murderer of the dog. From that point, the second half of the novel hugely focuses on Christopher attempting to travel to London by himself. A difficult task considering Christopher is autistic, hates crowds and can't stand to be touched by people. I won't tell who the murderer is or why Christopher takes off to London, as these are the only two real surprises of the novel. I will say overall this was a huge disappointment to me. I thought I was getting an exciting murder mystery and instead I got a highly readable family melodrama. Perhaps if this was not pushed as a murder mystery I would have enjoyed it much more.

    An interesting read but I wouldn't recommend it.

  • Chris
    May 22, 2008

    Absolute garbage. Easily the worst book I’ve read in 2008, and certainly a contender for Worst Book I’ve Ever Read. This crap won the prestigious Whitbread Book of the Year honors, and while I have absolutely no idea what that entails, I firmly support both the eradication of this farcical award and the crucifixion of anyone on the selection committee that nominated this stinking smegma.

    I’d seen this book prominently featured at many shops (mayhap Oprah was currently endorsing it as worthy fare

    Absolute garbage. Easily the worst book I’ve read in 2008, and certainly a contender for Worst Book I’ve Ever Read. This crap won the prestigious Whitbread Book of the Year honors, and while I have absolutely no idea what that entails, I firmly support both the eradication of this farcical award and the crucifixion of anyone on the selection committee that nominated this stinking smegma.

    I’d seen this book prominently featured at many shops (mayhap Oprah was currently endorsing it as worthy fare), so when I saw a copy at a resale shop for ‘fitty’ cents, I figured some poor sucker out there somehow managed to prove they know less about the value of a dollar than I do. This was both slick and sweet, even if the book blew, I could probably unload it on ebay and manage to actually make some money out of the deal. In that circumstance I’d place my first call home in 2008; my folks would be so proud to see my enterprising nature finally surface.

    I will not be selling this book, as my conscience won’t let me dupe someone quite that badly. I will instead be using it as kindling for the next bonfire I start while camping. This would be fitting, seeing as I read it while camping over Memorial Day weekend, and I would have rightfully disposed of this in the fire at that time, except I wasn’t completely finished suffering through it until the drive home. Also, I had nothing else to read. I can say that this book taught me one thing; I solemnly vow only to bring a book I enjoy while secluded from the outside world from this day forth. This is about the third time I’ve gone camping and brought some utter crap along, only to wish I had anything else, hell, I’d have started reading the damn bible if it meant forsaking “The Curious Incident..”

    Much less, during this ill-fated camping trip, the Midwest was being absolutely hammered with inclement weather of all sorts. Tornados were tearing the ass out of Iowa, both Wisconsin and Illinois were flooding to the point that if I actually had been reading the bible I'd have contemplated the construction of an ark, Michigan was being devastated by ‘ball-lightning’ and thunderstorms a-plenty, and Indiana, well, Indiana sucks no matter what the weather is, even if beset by an event similar to that legendary whack shit in Tunguska it could only serve to make the place slightly more interesting to inhabit.

    Rather comically, the campground had a good number of ‘seasonal’ campers (aka total hicks) that were just chilling in their trailers, sporting mullets and getting all stoked to some Kid Rock. While hail pummeled the area, t-storms unleashed an epic deluge, and tornados were spotted touching down and killing people, the hicks took all this in perfect stride. “Git r done! Git on ‘ere!” they hooted merrily, apparently oblivious to the fact that their lives were potentially in jeopardy. In these conditions not a single one bothered to put on a shirt, seemed completely content to sit on their cooler and polish off their 12-pack of Coors, and didn’t mind their inbred, unkempt kids running around barefoot and sopping wet, certain to die of pneumonia should god decide (for some unfathomable reason) not to reclaim their souls with his twister. The women, predominantly pregnant, were also unfazed, brazenly ignoring the reports of nearby boy scouts getting killed and also gleefully chugging Coors, which I’m sure will only assist in assuring that the next generation of scruffy bastards hailing from Elk’s Ass, Illinois to be just as pitiful as their progenitors.

    In order to blend in with the natives, I peeled off my top, kicked off my shoes, scratched my nuts generously before picking my nose, and continued drinking, acting as nonchalant as possible in 90 mph winds while getting pulverized with all forms of precipitation. For some reason I was still regarded with suspicion by the locals, and it wasn’t until later that I realized that the clue that tipped them off that I wasn’t one of their ilk was the act of reading. I wonder, when they embrace this uppity act of reading themselves will they begin noticing the surgeon general’s warnings that smoking and guzzling hooch shouldn’t be the norm for the preggers in their clan? That’s not really my problem, but I'll remain slightly concerned as these freaks only live about a hundred miles away.

    As a bonus for anyone sticking it out this far in eager anticipation of something which might resemble rationale for why “The Curious Incident…” sucked so bad (in my estimation), I shall now present it. I’d also like to note that the uncomfortable expectation of being leveled by a tornado is about five hundred times more enjoyable than this book.

    Thus begins the part of the review that I’m assuming will prompt the parents of autistic people worldwide to recommend I go fuck myself, to which I’ll just let them know right now that if I could, I wouldn’t be dicking around on goodreads. If my simple-minded slander is going to bother you, go find something more worthwhile to do.

    First, by page twenty-five I was just sick of the all the words in bold and all the diagrams and illustrations. Yes, I understand that the story is told from the point of view of an autistic kid, it would be damned hard not to grasp that, but was it really necessary? Is this supposed to be representative of how autistic people think? Who the hell knows, but I personally found it annoying.

    Secondly, I was also bothered by little Christopher rambling on and on about Super Good Days and Black Days and his favorite colors. I didn’t like him rapping about his skills at Minesweeper and ‘doing maths’ and his proficiency at ‘groaning’. I will give the author kudos that the story was every bit as demanding as dealing with someone with autism, laying belly-down on the floor like a lowly reptile and groaning after seeing a brown paper bag. “Great, you don’t like brown since shit happens to be brown-hued, let’s move on...Seriously.....No, seriously. Dude, I’m not kidding anymore, I get it, you’re not telling me anything new here....Ok, last time, bro, you say it one more time I swear I’ll kick you in the eye.” If I can collectively congratulate society on one decision in the past decade, it would have to be their refusal to allow me to teach ‘special education’. True, I haven’t applied for that unsavory post, but I’m sure anyone could realize that the result would be messier than providing a cage of chimps with ready-made shitballs.

    Lastly, this autistic kid is walking around with a knife throughout the book and ceaselessly contemplating shanking strangers with it. This (honestly) just absolutely offends me. I’ll make a fair trade; if I can’t drive drunk, autistic people shouldn’t be allowed possession of a knife (or anything more lethal than a wiffle-ball bat). I’m not about to start segregating the results of stupid people liable to make a stupid decision ruining someone else’s livelihood into degrees of malicious intent.

    Anyway, little Christopher is writing a ‘mystery’ story at the behest of his teacher, and the recent murder of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, seems like a good enigma to solve. This whole mystery is solved quickly and rather lamely within the story, which is fittingly moronic considering the whole work. From there, Christopher goes on a quest to find his mother, whom he believed deceased, which is absolute crap. This kid’s presence begins to screw up her life, her new lover’s life, and eventually sprawls out to ruin his father’s life, and yes, my life too. It even managed to ruin my girlfriend’s life, as I took my frustrations out by grudge-fucking her to a Helmet album on the rocky and inundated soil of the campsite. In the end, his parents make the haughty decision to try making this kid’s life fulfilling once again. Christ. A happy ending to this drek was genuinely soul-destroying.

    I’d have preferred something darker; an historical account of an autistic person prior to the recent mollycoddling. It seems like all I hear about these days are autistic kids, and I wonder why history isn’t choc full of anecdotal tales of their presence, where did they all come from? I can only speculate that prior to 1850, once a child displayed the symptoms of autism they were unceremoniously dragged to the nearest river and drowned, or smothered with hay. A story like that would be solid.

    Imagine this, caveman Thok is hella hungry, and there’s Oog, banging his head on the wall groaning, per usual. Thok comes home with one-slain-gazelle-a-week for the tribe, and Oog’s only contribution is a lot of noise and gibberish, and an appreciable skill of identifying prime numbers, which haven’t been conceptualized and aren’t worth much of a damn. But, today, Oog still has a hunk of some unlucky critter’s hindquarters left over from their recent feast, just laying there looking to be devoured. Pick your own ending of this tragic tale: A) Thok steals the meat and Oog continues groaning, even louder and more gratingly now that he’s hungry. B) Thok finds the nearest sizable stone and bludgeons Oog to death, resulting in an immediately full belly for the hearty hunter and about 85 edible pounds of meat for future consumption should the herd they are stalking decide to take to the hills. C) Thok befriends Oog, begins teaching him the tribe’s language, and Oog eventually ascends to the position of Grand Pooba of the clan, inventing the wheel, harnessing the power of fire, and pushing the frontiers of rocketry to levels still unachieved through his mathematical genius (usually accompanied by groaning).

    Anyone reading this should be subjected to someone groaning in close proximity until they stop. Then they can tell me how cool that shit is.

  • Cecily
    May 30, 2008

    First person tale of Christopher, a fifteen-year-old with Asperger's Syndrome or high-functioning autism, and a talent for maths, who writes a book (this one - sort of - very post modern) about his investigations of the murder of a neighbour's dog. He loves Sherlock Holmes and is amazingly observant of tiny details, but his lack of insight into other people's emotional lives hampers his investigation. Nevertheless, he has to overcome some of his deepest habits and fears, and he also unco

    First person tale of Christopher, a fifteen-year-old with Asperger's Syndrome or high-functioning autism, and a talent for maths, who writes a book (this one - sort of - very post modern) about his investigations of the murder of a neighbour's dog. He loves Sherlock Holmes and is amazingly observant of tiny details, but his lack of insight into other people's emotional lives hampers his investigation. Nevertheless, he has to overcome some of his deepest habits and fears, and he also uncovers some unexpected secrets.

    It is primarily a YA book, but there is more than enough to it to make it a worthwhile adult read as well.

    The structure of the book (chapter numbers are all primes; inclusion of maths puzzles and diagrams) and narrative style (attention to detail, excessive logic, avoidance of metaphor) reflect Christopher's mindset and way of viewing life. It is peppered with snippets of maths and explanations of his condition: how it affects him, and what coping strategies he adopts. The effect is plausibly stilted and occasionally breathless, which is reminiscent of people I know who are on the autistic spectrum and tallies with my limited reading about the condition.

    Christopher's condition makes him very literal - something he is aware of. He can analyse a joke, but still not "get" it. Truth is paramount, so he hates situations where he can't tell the truth (e.g. for politeness) and indeed the fact that "everything you tell is a white lie" because you can never give a fully comprehensive answer to anything. He also hates metaphors (even "the word metaphor is a metaphor", meaning "carrying something from one place to another"), but he doesn't mind similes because they are not untrue. Christopher's feelings about metaphors are highly pertinent to a very different book, China Mieville's wonderful "Embassytown" (

    ), which is about how minds shape language and how language shapes minds, and focuses on the relationship between similes, truth and lies.

    Many novels are about uncovering what is true, but Christopher's quest takes the idea to a deeper level, and even though we know this narrator is almost pathologically truthful, his condition means his observations sometimes miss the real truth of a situation.

    There is plenty of humour, and it usually arises from Christopher's naive misunderstandings of situations and the conflict between his lack of embarrassment and desire to be unnoticed by unfamiliar people.

    Christopher loves maths because it is safe, straightforward and has a definite answer, unlike life. He's also good at explaining some aspects, ending an explanation of calculating primes with "Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away".

    His apparent deviations from logic are justified with ingenious logic. For example, having favourite and hated colours reduces choice and thus stress, counteracting the effect of his inability to filter or prioritise: he notices (and remembers) every detail of everything, and can rewind it at will, whereas other people's brains are filled with imaginary stuff. He is a little like his hero Sherlock Holmes, who is quoted saying "The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance observes". Similarly, defining a good or bad day on the basis of how many red or yellow cars is no more illogical than an office-bound person's mood being dictated by the weather.

    All of this means animals are a better bet than humans: "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 are more of a mystery: when having a conversation, people look at him to understand what he's thinking, but Christopher can't do likewise. For him "it's like being in a room with a one-way mirror in a spy film". Love is even more unfathomable: "Loving someone is helping them when they get into trouble, and looking after them, and telling them the truth, and Father [does lots of things for me]... which means that he loves me".

    I reread this during a rather stressful journey, including the passages when Christopher is making a stressful journey. It helped me empathise with him - to the extent that it exacerbated my own stress!

    It's worth comparing this with Iris Murdoch's The Word Child (

    ), whose main character has tacit Asperger's tendencies, and The Housekeeper and the Professor (

    ), which is also about finding number patterns in everyday life, and involves a protagonist whose brain does not work like other people's.

  • Amanda
    Jun 10, 2008

    Am

    autistic? Am

    Christopher Boone? What is it about my OCD (self-diagnosed, boo yah!) that separates me from this fifteen-year-old kid? Fate is kind, but there is nothing more disturbing than learning that you possess so many of those qualities that categorize people as "special needs." I mean, shit. Choosing Item A over Item B because you like the color? Yep. Counting incessantly? Yep. Getting lost in London Underground? Yep. Quirky eating habits? Yep. Getting ridiculously sidetracked durin

    Am

    autistic? Am

    Christopher Boone? What is it about my OCD (self-diagnosed, boo yah!) that separates me from this fifteen-year-old kid? Fate is kind, but there is nothing more disturbing than learning that you possess so many of those qualities that categorize people as "special needs." I mean, shit. Choosing Item A over Item B because you like the color? Yep. Counting incessantly? Yep. Getting lost in London Underground? Yep. Quirky eating habits? Yep. Getting ridiculously sidetracked during storytelling? Yep. Yep, yep, yep. I've got it all. And it wasn't so bothersome at first, but as I read on, I grew to empathize with this kid so much so, that I felt like a fucking crazy person. I'm glad I'm done reading it.

    Some items of note:

    1. Christopher likes maths. I remember when I used to like maths. Maths are fun!

    2. Christopher has a pet rat. I remember when I used to have a pet rat. Pet rats are fun!

    3. I wish Siobhan was my girlfriend. Well, sorta. I mean, I don't think I'd be satisfied sexually, but still. She seems like a great gal.

    4. I have decided that it is impossible for non-crazy people to ever reach peace and comforting solitude. That's why snatching it bit by bit is necessary.

    5. I don't want to give birth.

    Thank you, Mr. Haddon, for the quick read. Life is quite complicated, even outside London, huh?

  • Brad
    Nov 09, 2008

    :

    2. Death broken down into its molecular importance.

    3. Clouds, with chimneys and aerials impressed upon them, and their potential as alien space crafts.

    5. Black Days and Yellow cars.

    7. Red food coloring for Indian cuisine.

    11. Christopher's reasons for loving

    and disdaining

    .

    13. White lies.

    17. The patience of Siobhan

    19. Father’s frustration, and Father

    :

    2. Death broken down into its molecular importance.

    3. Clouds, with chimneys and aerials impressed upon them, and their potential as alien space crafts.

    5. Black Days and Yellow cars.

    7. Red food coloring for Indian cuisine.

    11. Christopher's reasons for loving

    and disdaining

    .

    13. White lies.

    17. The patience of Siobhan

    19. Father’s frustration, and Father's love.

    23. “I reasoned that....”

    29. Metaphors are lies and similes are not.

    31. The intimacy of fanning out the fingers and pressing the hand of another.

    37. Christopher punches a policeman and later decides he doesn't like policeman much after all.

    41. My empathy for Father's pain.

    43. Mystification through demystification.

    47. Father admitting one of his “crimes” before he was caught.

    53. Did I mention Christopher?

    59. A Level Maths.

    61. The London Underground as a scary, thrilling adventure.

    67. Toby the rat.

    71. Wellington forked.

    73. The book has yet to be discovered by Oprah.

    79. Behavioral Problems

    83. Maps

    89. Prime numbers = Prime chapters

    97. That every day life, if seen from a certain perspective, can provide the conflict for a compelling novel.

  • Laurel
    Dec 04, 2008

    Here's what I liked about this book:

    1. I found Christopher, with all his many quirks, to be sweet and rather endearing.

    2. I thought it was a creative idea to write a book from the point of view of a boy with Asperger syndrome. This is difficult to pull off, but the author does it well.

    3. I enjoyed Christopher's musings about life and the way in which he sees it.

    4. I love making lists.

    Here's what I didn't like about this book:

    1. It wasn't really a mystery and I found some of it to be a bit predic

    Here's what I liked about this book:

    1. I found Christopher, with all his many quirks, to be sweet and rather endearing.

    2. I thought it was a creative idea to write a book from the point of view of a boy with Asperger syndrome. This is difficult to pull off, but the author does it well.

    3. I enjoyed Christopher's musings about life and the way in which he sees it.

    4. I love making lists.

    Here's what I didn't like about this book:

    1. It wasn't really a mystery and I found some of it to be a bit predictable (I guessed who killed Wellington long before it was revealed).

    2. The first half is better than the second half.

    3. As much as I love making lists (see above), the list thing got the slightest bit annoying after awhile.

    Overall, a poignant story about a young, brave autistic boy trying to make sense of and find his place in this very complicated world. Worth the read.

  • jo
    Jan 05, 2009

    this book rocked my world, and i've been trying for weeks to understand why. here it is:

    * because the plot is flawless

    * because the voice is flawless

    * because it's amazingly tender without being cute

    * because there's a christopher boone in me, and a christopher boone in everyone i love or at least try to get along with

    * because the christopher boone in me loves to see itself written about lovingly, like it's the coolest kid, if not on the block (it will never be the coolest kid on the block), at

    this book rocked my world, and i've been trying for weeks to understand why. here it is:

    * because the plot is flawless

    * because the voice is flawless

    * because it's amazingly tender without being cute

    * because there's a christopher boone in me, and a christopher boone in everyone i love or at least try to get along with

    * because the christopher boone in me loves to see itself written about lovingly, like it's the coolest kid, if not on the block (it will never be the coolest kid on the block), at least in the annals of literature

    * because the christopher boone in those i love or at least try to get along with is telling me, "be patient; please, be patient; i'm doing the best i can"

    * because i understand this plea, since it's a plea i issue myself like 230 times a day