Marc Kozak'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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Feb 11, 13

Read from January 23 to 28, 2013

I had pretty much the exact same reaction to this as I did to Emma Donoghue's Room (the gory details can be read here - shameless self-promotion!!!!)

This appears to be an almost universally loved book, but I just couldn't get into it. Behold this handy list of problems:

• Why does every single book with a child narrator have to talk about poop over and over again? Is it supposed to be cute? Do adults think that is what children think about all of the time? It's like parents who post Facebook statuses about their kid's bowel movements. Maybe it's funny when you're a parent?

• Speaking of child narrators, while this wasn't as bad as the aforementioned Room, it shared the same tactic of having random segments about "adult" topics like religion and life and death and junk. Both books seem to want to say "hey isn't this simplistic view of this complicated thing simultaneously cute and insightful? Kids say the darndest things!" Spare me. Here's an example: Siobhan says people go on holidays to see new things and relax, but it wouldn't make me relaxed and you can see new things by looking at earth under a microscope or drawing the shape of the solid made when 3 circular rods intersect at right angles. And I think that there are so many things just in one house that it would take years to think about all of them properly. And also, a thing is interesting because thinking about it and not because of being new. OH MY GODS HE'S RIGHT THERE'S SO MUCH WONDER ALL AROUND ME!

• Speaking of things that have nothing to do with the story, this book includes lots and lots of drawings and pictures and things that the main character draws, which seems like a gimmick and is indeed a gimmick. I didn't mind it at first, but none of them added anything to his characterization and seemed to exist solely to be cute or clever.

• Although it's never stated, it's clear our hero suffers from autism or a similar developmental disorder. There are moments where you are supposed to feel for the parents who are struggling to cope, but all of the adult characters seem like stereotypes, and therefore have no emotional depth. Since the book is written from the child's POV, you only get glimpses of their actions, which doesn't help either. I dunno, maybe I'm heartless but the style of the storytelling really dulled any emotional impact for me.

• Seriously, who the shit gave this kid a Swiss army knife?

• My disbelief was shattered even further when he makes a long train trip unsupervised across England, having MANY bizarre encounters with multiple people, in public, including cops, who he eludes by hiding behind a suitcase. No one asks questions or acts too concerned. Either everyone in England is so aloof that they don't notice anything around them, or this kid was secretly Batman.

• I will admit to liking all the parts about math.

At any rate, I don't think I'm cut out for books written from a child's point of view, unless someone has some better examples.

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message 1: by Linda (new)

Linda Glad to hear the one dissenting voice expressed with such humor! I'll consider it "read by stalking"!


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