C.G. Drews'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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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, young-adult, read-2013, autism, ya-male-narrators, read-2018, ya-without-romance
Read 2 times. Last read October 27, 2018.

2nd Read | October 2018

Ok wow it's been 5 years since I read this and I wanted to reread desperately! I also heard it was actually problematic with the autism rep and at the time of reading I...had no idea of anything about autism...orrrrr that I was actually autistic myself. The things YOU FIND OUT LATER. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ So hello, dear reread, time to be critical.

I still love it! I don't think the autism rep is perfect, but I don't think it's terrible either?! I know it's all pitched as asperger's syndrome (which isn't a diagnosis anymore) but Christopher actually reads as someone who is a low-functioning autistic. (I don't like saying "low vs high" functioning, but just using that term for sake of being clear.) It's actually important to not just talk about the autistics who "pass" in society. The sensory overload scenes were intensely right, and it talked about some of the lesser discussed symptoms of autism. For instance, (I forget the technical term) but struggling to realise people don't think/see what you do. It did go light on the stimming, but it was there!

My biggest issues with the rep were: (1) the inconsistencies with his skills, (2) that Christopher is, again, the typical white/straight/sort-of-savant-mathematical autism stereotype 😑, and (3) that it pretty clearly leaned towards the "oh autistic people don't have empathy" which is WRONG. We just show it differently.

But I love that it didn't end up with Christopher getting "better" or stopping doing anything autistic. THANK YOU. He is still Christopher and autistic by the end...but it's working on fixing his family situation.

(And like it frikkin' sucked how Christopher looked down on the other disabled kids in his class.)

I also sort of found the math parts + the wild detours to talk in intricate detail about a road sign really annoying. IDK. Maybe just me? It fit with Christopher I guess, but I also felt it was just a stereotypical way of viewing autism.

ANYWAY. I still loved Christopher and his anxiety was palpable on page. His family is hella messed up and seeing it from his unreliable perspective was cleverly done, but also heartbreaking. The ending seemed a bit of a random land in a pile of sludge though?? It felt so anticlimatic?! But I read this all in one evening and I LOVE reading books fast. It's a good book, Brent.

(Although I admit I'm lowering it to 4 stars from 5. Shhh.)


1st Read | July 2013

Despite the title being a regular mouthful (try saying THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME five times fast), this is a seriously good book. It doesn’t tell a story – it brings YOU into the story. That’s what I look for in a book.

Christopher Boone is a mathematical and scientific genius. He also has Asperger’s Syndrome, which can turn complicated mathematics into simple games, but also turn simple things (like colours, or being touched) into complicated horrors. What I loved about this book was: Christopher. (Kind of obvious, I guess, but bear with me.) We don’t just read Christopher’s world: we SEE it. I take my hat off to the author, because it’s not easy to write a book like this, PLUS make the reader empathize with everyone, PLUS write an unforgettable story, PLUS kill a dog, PLUS solve a mysteries, PLUS leave it with such an unfinished ending that I am sitting here writing a review and gnashing my teeth from the combination of sheer awesomeness and feelings of unsatisfactory sadness. (Yes, that was a 69-word sentence. You’re welcome.)

I couldn’t put this book down. Literally! I read it in a few hours flat. As the story unraveled, I felt sad and happy and worried and sad (yes, unfeeling reviewer that I am, I DO have feelings. Proof is here). Don’t be fooled. The mystery of who-killed-the-neighbour’s-dog is only a fraction of the story. And the book ends in tears and – but no spoilers.

The style fits Christopher’s voice to perfection. Depending on his feelings, the sentences range in length, the narrative becomes clear or lumpy, and the chapters change degrees of intensity. Every couple of chapter, the topic seems to run off – on some spree of mathematical genius. Yes, I confess to being lost on those chapters. I confess that a lot of the extra facts and random notes about the scientific thoughts of space didn’t capture me personally. But it added to the story! It fit. It worked. It was fabulous. And anyone who gets me saying math is amazing and deserves an award.

I also like the fact it was set in England. Just sayin’.

The book breaks writing rules. Being a writer myself, I appreciate the rules of “show, don’t tell” and “don’t use passive words like ‘was’”. This book (excuse me for not writing out the title again) breaks a LOT of rules. Most of it is plain narrative. The writing gets passive because of that. Do I mind? No. If you’re going to break the rules, do it perfectly, and I’ll have no qualms. THE CURIOUS…(you get the idea) broke all the rules and. i. love. it. for. that.

It’s blunt. It’s gritty. It’s painful. Several times I wanted to bawl into pages (but I didn’t, because I wouldn’t want to wreck the book). It touched my bookish soul. Now I know who killed the dog. Do you want to know?
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Reading Progress

May 21, 2013 – Shelved
May 21, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
July 21, 2013 – Shelved as: contemporary
July 21, 2013 – Shelved as: young-adult
Started Reading
July 22, 2013 – Finished Reading
November 20, 2013 – Shelved as: read-2013
August 7, 2015 – Shelved as: autism
November 17, 2016 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators
October 27, 2018 – Started Reading
October 27, 2018 –
page 124
46.27% "So I haven't read this in five years 😱and i remember adoring it back then, but I've since heard it's problematic with the autism rep!? So I'm keen to reread!

(holy wow though this book has over a million ratings?! I didn't realise it was that famous)"
October 27, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
October 27, 2018 – Shelved as: ya-without-romance
October 27, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-19 of 19 (19 new)

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Lydia I just read this one. Quite the book. I liked it.

C.G. Drews Lydia wrote: "I just read this one. Quite the book. I liked it."

I really, really liked it. (Though it's impossible to tell, right? ;)

Beryl Rosenberg I gave it 5 stars too!!! And I saw the play!!!

Beryl Rosenberg I gave it 5 stars too!!! And I saw the play!!!

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Haha, What A LONGGGG NAME, but I LOVED IT too! I loved the plot twists and everything about Christopher made the book so marvellous!! Lovely review!

Mariah Roze The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Our Diversity in All Forms book Club is reading this for April. We’d love to have you join the discussion on it. :) https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

C.G. Drews @Mariah: I haven't read this book in 4 years haha, I don't even remember any details. Thanks anyway for the invite tho.

I'mogén I really need to read more from this author. I think this is one of my all time favourite books and I'm so glad my English teacher read it to us years ago! I would love to see the play but I don't think they're showing it any more :(

I'mogén Ah, sorry for the random message! I saw you comment and hadn't seen your review of this before... didn't realise it was 4 years old xF

I'mogén * xD

message 11: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @I'mogén: Haha, that's okay! I want to re-read this sometime but I remember adoring it...just not much else. :P

message 12: by Alva (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alva Samuelsson I do totally agree to user Cait about her review. Like she says, you did really get into the story and there were so many feelings. It was as if you did get the same feelings as Christopher did. And sometimes it was like you did see the world from Christopher’s perspective, how he did take adversities and succeeds. I do also agree with that the author had made a very good job whit writing the story. For example, he did put in many notes about space and mathematics but he did get a good balance between the facts and the other things in the book, which I think is great.

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

Brit McCarthy Have you seen the play? Its brilliant, would highly recommend!

message 14: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews I haven't seen the play but I've heard of it!

message 15: by B. R. Kyle (new)

B. R. Kyle (Ambiguous Pieces) My biggest problem with the book was with how the parents treat Christopher. Now, I understand that Christopher is a fifteen-year-old, he doesn't know any better, but other people do, like his teacher's aid. There's also no opportunity or possibility for the parents to be confronted on their shitty behaviour (Christopher doesn't realise it's wrong) and be held accountable for it. It would have been different if, after Christopher ran away from home, Social Services thought it was a good idea to have a home visit and see if everything was okay. But they don't. There's also the problem that, with the school Christopher is attending, most of those programs age students out at 16. At best, Christopher only has a year left before he's forced to leave that school.

message 16: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @BR: Oh I definitely think it talked about how unfair life was and how Christopher wasn't getting the support he needed at all. And his parents' behaviour was unacceptable arsghsoh. But I liked that it was obvious that THEY were in the wrong, and Christopher didn't have to stop being himself by the end. I feel autism books usually end with "praising" the autistic character for being "less" autistic by the end. But here it was more about his parents' earning back his trust. (Debatable as to if they deserved it, I guess.)

Also I didn't realise but it was set in the very early 2000s? Or late 1990s? So that makes a difference with how often people seemed to have no clue what HF autism even was.

message 17: by Jess (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jess So interesting reading your comment about autism after just finishing your new book. Definitely see that all of the issues you saw with this books portrayal were written accurately in your portrayal of Avery :)

Haylee You are on every single book I look at hahaha!

Steve 9

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