Monday, 4 June 2012

Book Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

How do you predict a good or bad day? Do you rely on the weather or do you rely on what underwear you’re wearing? Well, for Christopher, it’s the number of yellow or red cars he sees standing in a row.
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. He can’t understand emotions, he can’t understand what triggers his father’s anger, nor can he judge the genuine kindness of strangers. He can’t understand why his neighbour is screaming at him whilst he clutches her dead dog in his arms which has been stabbed with a pitchfork.

He doesn’t like seeing the dog dead. He likes dogs. But death isn’t something Christopher understands. He doesn’t understand grief. His mother recently died too. Though the dog’s death isn’t like his mother’s: this is murder. And Christopher wants to solve this mystery like Sherlock Holmes and writes a book documenting his evidence. However, this angers his father who hides his book away in his closet...but that’s not all his father is trying to hide from Christopher in the closet.
The novel is full of odd quirks from chapters being listed as prime numbers to scientific and mathematic diagrams within chapters. Haddon, in my opinion, did a fantastic job capturing an autistic mindset. There’s a level of frustration felt by the reader due to the fact the character is so naive to the facts presented in front of him. You crave for him to understand the facts faster, but that’s a wonderful effect of the novel as it’s so rare for a reader to be the omniscient persona in a novel rather than the narrator, who in this case is the innocently ignorant one. It’s a fast, easy read but wonderfully unusual and quirky, and if you’re interested in reading a novel with an alternative reader relationship with a narrator, I would definitely recommend this novel. ★★★★

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