Jann'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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's review
Apr 30, 2008

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Read in April, 2008

** spoiler alert ** It certainly is an interesting look inside the mind of someone who is autistic. Christopher is so straight forward about things, but he is also a little condescending at times. He knows he is smart about math and science, and when he veers into these topics as he investigates the death of his neighbor's dog, his explanations of various terms, often including diagrams, are thorough. He assumes nothing of intelligence about his reader, which is both arrogant and refreshing. He is also remarkably candid about his shortcomings. He explains that he doesn't understand jokes or metaphors and he prefers for people to be direct.

Christopher is almost incapable of actual emotion, and what emotion he does have manifests itself in physical ways-- he groans, he plugs his ears, or he literally becomes sick. He hates being touched, to the point that he always has a Swiss Army Knife in his pocket at the ready, and at various points he hits a police officer, his father, and a random passerby who is attempting to help him.

That being said, Christopher gets the shaft from well-meaning parents. His father especially knows how to relate to Christopher, and Christopher on the whole seems to really benefit from the interactions with his father and also his teacher the most. His mother takes off when she can't deal with him or his father anymore. The unfortunate part of this is the fact that Christopher's dad is total liar. When his lies are discovered, he can't explain because Christopher doesn't understand. His mind is so linear that, when told his mother was dead, she totally ceased to exist. The other option, discovered through letters hidden in his dad's closet, simply doesn't occur to him. He tries to rationalize it and ends up going into what I understand to be a classic 'autistic' style overload where he retreats so far into his own mind he is barely aware of his father's presence. The one thing his dad has going for him is that he doesn't flip out and get mad that Christopher was going through the closet. That was the only time I found anything his father did remotely relatable.

I found it very difficult to read the parts where he lapses into a description of the garden, an in-depth diagram of Swindon, or his explanation of mathematical deductions. The reprieve near the end, when Christopher adds an appendix explaining how he solved a math problem on a test, was much-appreciated. I have a Calculus textbook I can read when I want, I don't need it in a novel I'm reading as well.

Overall, the plot twist was enough to keep me interested, but I don't think I'll read this book again anytime soon since I know what happens. I liked it, just not enough to read over and over.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Anne I gave this book to my mom for Christmas a couple of years ago... Interesting view into the world of autism.

Jann It seems really interesting, and there are several of my friends on here who have reviewed it well. I have to admit, the title grabbed me before I even knew what it was about! I'm so excited to have some ideas about what to read. I've really been reading a lot of the same old, same old lately.

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