21st Century Literature discussion

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
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Oct 12 Curious Incident...Haddon > The Curious Incident of the Dog - Chapter 84 to End (Complete Novel)

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message 1: by Will (last edited Oct 21, 2012 08:49AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Will (wjmcomposer) Well, I had originally intended to partition this book much differently, but there's really no way to do so without cutting the story into bits that wouldn't make sense, so I apologize...your moderator has let you down on this one..I'll make up for it.

It seems most readers read the thing in two big bursts anyway. Here's my very short review:
It's a mystery. It's also a mystery as to how it stopped being one. After searching the internet for quite a while, I fear it will remain an unsolved one, unlike the mystery in the book. I think for many readers, we're enchanted with this take on the Sherlock mythos, then betrayed by our own enjoyment of it. Every interview with the author I can locate finds him both mentioning it as a mystery, followed by his comments only as a family drama of sorts. It's still a good book. It's still well-written. But the author is guilty of the crime of making us want something, then giving us something entirely different. Perhaps the mystery of the missing mystery is a mystery even to him.

I think that I, like many readers, are left with only our unfulfilled desires of what kind of mystery it could have been. Would that have been a better book? It's a mystery.


As you can see, I'm a little disappointed in the novel, though I otherwise liked it. I thought it was well written and engaging, but I wanted a different novel. The first 3/5th delivers, the remainder denies. Thoughts?


Daniel | 740 comments Mod
I'm still not sure what to make of this book. I'm also disappointed, but for a very different set of reasons. For myself, I see "the remainder" as the real story of the book, and the first 3/5ths as prologue to set up the difficulties of Christopher's odyssey.

And here's the temporary post that I had promised to move into this thread: It probably comes as little surprise that I ended up finding the second half better than the first. Since the plot was essentially inside Christopher's head for the first half, his idiosyncracies were the main focus, and logical inconsistencies in that regard had me seeing red (and not in a "good day" sort of way). The second half, though, actually had a plot outside of Christopher's head, and I was able to focus on the story elements rather than obsess over little things like why Christopher needs food coloring for yellow curry but not for brown baked beans.


Will (wjmcomposer) So of those who read the book, I'd be curious to know if you had objections to the content? There were many places who protested the language and even atheist leanings.

Did you notice?

Did you care?

Would any of that make a difference in whether or not you'd recommend a young person read it?


Maggie (mmorrell) | 14 comments Nope. I'm an atheist. I am kind to people most of the time and to animals all of the time.


message 5: by Sophia, Honorary Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sophia | 1322 comments Mod
I noticed. And I didn't care. (I'm a Christian). I would recommend that a young person read it. It's insightful.


message 6: by Julie (last edited Oct 23, 2012 08:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Julie (readerjules) | 139 comments Atheist leanings don't bother me. I don't remember what the language was like to say whether I'd recommend it to a young person or not because I read it ages ago, but that wouldn't bother me personally either.


Will (wjmcomposer) There were many people who apparently complained about the frequent uses of the f-word, and I guess some groups didn't allow it to be available through them, feeling their little ears would fall off or something.


message 8: by Sophia, Honorary Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sophia | 1322 comments Mod
Oh dear, oh dear. Get a life.


Daniel | 740 comments Mod
First of all, "young people" covers a pretty broad swath of territory. Are we talking adolescent or prepubescent? I get the sense, though, that these nameless "many people" are the sort who will find controversy in just about anything, and that age is a convenient cover story rather than the real issue at hand.

I certainly noticed the "objectionable" content myself, but I would be hard pressed to think of a book which used it in a more appropriate fashion (or in a less gratuitous sense).


message 10: by Sophia, Honorary Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sophia | 1322 comments Mod
Very well put. I must be case-hardened, because the 'objectionable content' didn't really register – probably because we were reading a book about a very unusual child. For that reason I would probably want to read it with a pre-pubescent child. I would let an adolescent get on with it.


Trisha I work in mental health and remember reading this novel in a grad level psych class to examine the character and how he functions with Asperger's Syndrome. I thought that it was a very accurate description of how his mind works and it made an interesting narrative. My frustration with his struggles to communicate and stay on point made me take a deeper look, not just at the storyline, but at his cognitive struggles as well. I thought it was a great novel!


Zadignose | 85 comments Once upon a time there was a movie called The Big Lebowski. At the time it was released, most filmgoers and critics complained of being unsatisfied by the film. Many reactions seemed based on a frustration that the film was somehow... not what they expected. Some, however, for one reason or another, went back and watched it a second time. It became a cult classic... perhaps a legit classic. Once viewers had adjusted their expectations, they fell in love with the movie for what it IS, and not what they thought it would be. They then forgot what it was that they disliked the first time, and ultimately denied that they were ever critical.

Perhaps The Curious Incident... is a book that should be read a second time. I've read it twice, and honestly so far it is the ONLY book of the twenty-first century that I would call great. (Then again, I haven't read many twenty-first century books).


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