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
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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 1-32 of 32) (32 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 Svamvour 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"


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 17: 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 19: 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 21: 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 22: by Liliana (new)

Liliana yes, but did you buy it?


message 23: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon Delves I you paid for the book!


Andee Schuck Screw all the haters, thanks for a good review! It makes me excited to read it now!


Brigitte I read this book upon suggestion and loved it, even though I was skeptical at the beginning.

I just want to say, I believe Christopher could go to university . I work with young adults on the autism spectrum and most of them are currently attending college and doing well. A learning disability does not have to stop someone from living life. As you can see, Christopher was quite smart.


Rowan I loved reading about your experience with this book. It really does make you feel something (albeit my reaction wasn't quite as strong as yours). I had as sense of satisfaction when I finished it, because it showed that even with all of the hardships and surprises Christopher had to endure, things were pretty okay in the end, with hopes for an even brighter future. But I found your review to be a bit contradictory– you say that "he can do anything" but also, about him going to college, that "you know his situation won't allow it". I know that Christopher speaks in a somewhat limited point of view (as a reader you have to deduce what other characters/the general public know since Christopher doesn't recognize these things, as he is autistic) but I personally don't think that his "situation" means he can't be successful at all. I might be wrong, but I find your view a little condescending, like you think that it's obvious that he'll never amount to be anything but it's cute that he thinks he can. Like Bridgitte (in the comment above) pointed out, it's totally possible for a person on the autism spectrum to go to college. Yes, the social aspects of it would be harder for Christopher than the average person, but he is so smart that it would be a waste for him to not further his education.


Brendan Donnegan Awesome review! I love that book and I'm only 8!


Charlie This book was suggested to me a while ago and I finally read it and absolutely loved it! Your review was quite good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This book makes you a better person reading it.


Charlie Rowan is absolutely right.


message 30: by Noah (new) - added it

Noah Kneipp I feel like Doritos


message 31: by Madison (new) - added it

Madison Chappell This is one of my favourite books because I am diagnosed with High functioning autism spectrum disorder and this book is very relatable and it makes me feel like the character is like me


message 32: by Elm (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elm A lot of people have got annoyed because you didn't pay the book (at least from what I can garner). But I think that doesn't matter - what DOES matter is your appreciation for this book, and the emotions it elicited from you.

I really like this review because it sums up, more or less, what I think.


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