Sean'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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M_50x66
's review
Aug 29, 07

bookshelves: readit
Recommended for: anyone who has a soul
Read in January, 2005

** spoiler alert ** 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.
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Comments (showing 1-24 of 24) (24 new)

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Siobhain Slightly off-topic but since you mentioned it, I'd like to let you know that more often than not when you walk out on your bill at a restaurant the server (who is most likely also broke and living off tips) has to pick up your tab.

I am a part-time server and have been walked out on on numerous occasions. Once for a bill over $100.00 - and I had to pay for it.

If you don't like your food, send it back to the kitchen and order something else. Don't make people pay just because you don't like what you ordered.


message 2: by Randall (new) - added it

Randall Yelverton Have to echo Siobhain here as a former server myself. Lost all my tip from a huge table--my first ever--due to a party walking out on me. And walking out and not paying is stealing.


message 3: by Luke (new) - added it

Luke Paireepinart hey! mark this as a spoiler review! some of us haven't read the book yet. sheesh.


Julia It is an amazing book, but it's not written by an autistic person, as you say in your review, but by a man that worked with autistic folk.

Doesn't take anything away from Haddon's acheivement, or your response to it, just clarifying.


Sean Why are you commenting on walking out on tips? What the heck?


message 6: by Randall (new) - added it

Randall Yelverton You brought it up. Just wanted you to know that your behavior has bad consequences. Waiters aren't exactly wealthy.


Lady of the Lake You need to add a spoiler alert to your review for those who haven't read the book it is not a good thing to find out the out come of the boy succeeding in his search for the real killer. I would have liked to read the book and have found that out on my own.
Please go back into your review and check the spoiler tab. Your review other wise is good...although why you would be proud to walk out on and not pay your food bill is bizarre I hope by finding out that it is NOT the restaurant that pays the tab but the HARD WORKING server you will not do this any more.


message 8: by Janene (new) - added it

Janene Just wondering if you paid Chapters for the book after you were done reading it cover to cover? ;)


Kevin There's only 233 chapters... not over a million, you thief.


message 10: by Myzylyn (new) - added it

Myzylyn Lee I know it's totally unrelated but Why would you want to walk out on your bill?!?! I'm not a server or anything but even I know that someone has to pay for it.and anyway, it's not like somebody forced you to go to those restaurants. what you did was just plain wrong and on so many levels too..
but your rudeness aside, this book does sound interesting.


Carly Oh, for heaven's sake - I was hoping there'd be discussion on the book.

Sean, you shouldn't have mentioned that personal quirk you have; it distracted from the topic.

I see you liked the book; you gave it a five . . . see my review on my book list here . . .

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 12: by rob (last edited Feb 17, 2010 10:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

rob Sean you are a bonehead. Not only did you spoil this book for others, but people probably don't care what you think about what books you've read because you are a thief and a bonehead. Decent people don't walk out on a restaurant bill, and decent people would read a few pages, decide they like it, and PAY for it. I live in Toronto. We have libraries. Use one - and bring a lunch from home.


message 13: by Elif (new) - rated it 4 stars

Elif You've cried? uh oh.. interesting!


message 14: by Caleb (new) - rated it 1 star

Caleb this is a petetic excuse of a book it is the worst book i have ever read because it had no self expreashion and gives me a head ach when ever i think or read it worst book ever


message 15: by John (new) - rated it 1 star

John "hence, by the end of the book, you're reading chapter 123 [divisible by 3],314,124 [both divisible by 2] or whatever"


Amanda Caleb, it does lack self expression. Individuals on the autism spectrum rarely do, which is what makes this book so perfect. The author holds true to the logic driven (to them, not us) mind of a child with High Functioning Autism. If you are not familiar with the population, then I suppose the book would seem pretty bad.

Sean, ugh! Really, your habits are selfish and appalling.


Penny Yoke This book really made me felt better too! :) It was a nice change after reading those YA books packed with fantasy, you know, something closer to real life. Of course the book does lack self expression, but since it is supposedly written by an autistic kid, then it ties in very well. And the book was really funny too, because of the way Christopher expresses himself.


message 18: by Érica (last edited Oct 23, 2012 09:43AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Érica lol, i don't get why everyone is talking about your not paying the bill instead of commenting your review! Anyways, I read the whole book without knowing it was about an autistic guy. I thought: "What's the point of this story?" and "Is this guy retarded???" But after I read the back cover, everything made perfect sense. I think it's a very interesting book, and I am glad that now I learned more about how it is like to be autistic (although I didn't really know I was learning anything while I was reading it). Your review is pretty nice, and I was kinda surprised to see you cried when you read it :D


Sandra Thanks for the inciteful review This will be picked up on my next trip to the library. I'm looking forward to a book that makes me think.


message 20: by Darrel (new) - added it

Darrel Sheridan Cried? I am laughing so hard at this thread that Im in tears. It was a difficult book to read, and i considered putting it down a few times but ultimately finished it, and feel better for it.

Sean, you're a prick!


Anakurama ......but, did you BUY the book?


message 22: by Dave (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dave Squires Once I became comfortable with Christophers character, I found him a pleasure to read along with. The author creates an enjoyable adventure for his special needs child. I would have appreciated prose explaining the type and background information for Christophers condition. Overall, I would recommend this read as a source of conversation regarding the high functioning needs of this stories topic.


message 23: by Liliana (new)

Liliana yes, but did you buy it?


message 24: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon Delves I you paid for the book!


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