16 Jan Book #1 – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
The book is a journal of Christopher who is 15 years, 3 months and 2 days old, and he has Asperger’s Syndrome. Christopher is extremely smart in maths and he loves trains, like Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory. He also doesn’t like to be touched, he dislikes the colour yellow and brown, and doesn’t eat different foods that touched one another on his plate.
One night he discovered a dead dog in his neighbor’s yard and began to investigate who killed the dog. He lived with his single father ever since he was told his mother died in hospital; and he has a pet rat called Toby. While he was detecting – as he described it – he explored the outside world which is out of his comfort-zone, met a few policemen, took rides in trains and managed to get through some horrible experiences, which are multiplied for a person with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Siobhan, one of Christopher’s teachers, recommended to him to write a book about the events that took place, which is what we read.
The novel is written extremely well. Mark Haddon does a great job in exploring the personality and traits of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. I can relate to many of these traits, since I’ve done quite some research on the topic – and also because I’m diagnosed with AS. Think of Sheldon Cooper, then think of a less sever version of him. I’m in the higher functioning area of the spectrum.
Back to topic – Mark Haddon reaches into the depths of Christopher’s mind, giving the reader extremely specific details on nearly every topic Christopher comes across. This is both interesting, and boring. The interesting parts are the details that I never knew about everyday things, and how he points them out. He portrays how Christopher’s has a very logical way of thinking about stuff.
I like it when it rains hard . It sounds like white noise everywhere, which is like silence but not empty.
Unlike Christopher, I’m not good at maths, and I found those maths explanations boring. I skipped through the calculations, because I don’t understand algebra. There is one inclusion of his maths that I enjoyed, and that was how the chapters were numbered according to prime numbers.
What also stood out for me was how Christopher very often overthought situations and played them over-and-over in his mind, assuming always the worst outcome, when the truth is far from his imagination, and the outcome is either not bad, or not the same at all. This is also a common trait in someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. I also have this trait.
When paying close attention to the writing style of the book, you’ll notice how different Christopher (Mark Haddon) wrote the first half of the book before the major event took place, and how the style completely changes afterwards. Sentences became longer, with some having at least five lines and no punctuation until the full-stop. He also begins nearly every sentence with “And” and “Then.” My observation is that Christopher wrote this way while he was dealing with his emotional drama during the events he encountered.
What Mark Haddon was able to pull off, was for the reader to also experience the same kind of tension Christopher does as he tries to hide from the policeman – to give an example.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE ABOUT THE BOOK
The use of blasphemy and cursing, which contradicts my first observations of it being for teenagers or young adults. The reader realizes that Christopher is not a believer in God at all, and neither anyone else he encounters.
I would not recommend this book for strong believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, nor for children under 18 years old, because of the strong language use.
The story honors Christopher’s bravery in all the events that he forces himself through as a kid with Asperger’s Syndrome.
MY OVERALL RATING: 7/10
My next book is: “The play of The Diary of Anne Frank” by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett, and I’ll post my review of it next week.