maricar's Reviews > The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
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Jan 09, 08

bookshelves: favorites, mystery-thriller, contemporary

whimsical yet packs a punch...

it may look inconspicuously thin, but the book, i bet, would be something that any lucky reader is sure to want to have for keeps. starts off innocently enough...well, okay, maybe not so innocent since the first scene was the finding of a brutally murdered dog. some may already think that that is all the story is going to be about--the finding of the killer. nothing too deep or exciting. heck...maybe not worth the effort at all (hey, don't pelt me--i own a dog and i drown her with hugs and kisses...).

then readers will realize that the protagonist isn't the usual teenager. christopher's frames of argument, logic, judgements are so interesting to muddle through, you'll find yourself at times amused, oftentimes befuddled, and, sometimes still, sympathetic. the way haddon reveals how christopher thinks, feels, and understands the world around him was masterfully done--not too inflated, nor apologetic. there were chapters and chapters where it seems that everything in christopher's life would be untouched by his determination to find the perpetrator of the crime, and then suddenly what seemed so delicate and innocent came crashing down on his shoulders. the focus of the story then hones in mercilessly on christopher and his topsy-turvy world. one can actually feel his overwhelming fear as he is inevitably forced to "confront" the world outside his comfort zone, yet often one has the strangest desire to embrace him for his even stronger will to make things "safe" and "logical" for him again, if only for the sake of his sanity.

though special people like christopher may hardly ever be truly understood by any one person in all their entirety, haddon makes it excruciatingly evident to us that, what for most people is just a simple day, it's a series of endless emotional barrage for autistic people.

i found myself on the verge of tears when his father yearned to "hug" christopher but was unable to do so. you sort of "hurt" with the father and may even be empathetic to how it must be for him to look after a son with special needs, and yet you also can't help but inexplicably cry for christopher and for what he unknowingly needs but is unconsciously having such an enormous difficulty in reaching for -- indeed, there was a part of me that was relieved that the burden of having to know this will never be christopher's.

i immensely enjoyed this novel. it may begin on light, delicate feet but steadily gains ground, and before you know it, you are assailed with conflicting emotions you never thought to feel. a real treasure.
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