Book Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

When I started reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, I’d heard too much good about it to have put off reading it any longer. I’d bought the Kindle version of this book when it was available for a cheap price over a year and a half ago. But then, I went ahead and bought the paperback from BookChor (which I’ve mentioned in my video for the June Book Haul) because physical copies are awesome.

I have no idea why I hadn’t read it when I had it all that time. But that can be said of a HUGE number of books. Despite this, my excitement for this book hadn’t waned in all these days. At the beginning of July last year, which is my birthday month, I’d decided to read books that I’m excited about that month. So I did pick it up and gave it its long overdue due. [I swear I didn’t do this on purpose. :P]

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is the story of Christopher Boone, a teenager suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. [This is my second book about this syndrome, the first being House Rules by Jodi Picoult.] Christopher likes routine, and anything that deviates from that routine brings on panic attacks like nothing else. People with Asperger’s Syndrome like to maintain a routine because it helps them stay prepared and they know what is going to happen.

Christopher finds his neighbor, Mrs. Shears’s dog, Wellington lying dead in the middle of her lawn with a garden fork driven through its body. And now, Christopher must find out who killed Wellington. In the process of unearthing this mystery, Christopher finds out a lot more about his own family. His father tells him his mother died of a heart attack. And when Christopher tells him that he wants to investigate Wellington’s death, he forbids him from doing anything of the sort. Amidst all this, he will be giving his Math A-levels soon and the tumult becomes almost unbearable.

The most recent book – at that time – that I read about a mental illness was The Woman in the Window and I was so annoyed by that book. I didn’t like it as much as so many of the reviews on Goodreads. But The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is so different from that book, in the sense that it is the kind of book that states clearly whatever it wants to say. The writing isn’t repetitive and didn’t annoy me one bit. It is easy to read, has a clear outline, despite the narrator being a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. I agree that sometimes vague narratives are exciting to read, but at other times, all I want to read is a book with a smooth narrative.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an insight into a mind that craves uniformity. Because of this and because of its predictability or rather, logic, Christopher loves Math. And when the Math and probability come on, all I could think was, ‘Oh, I thought I left those demons behind a LONG time ago!’ But as they say, one man/woman’s demons are another’s safe haven. And that is exactly what happens in this book.

Earlier in the book, I was a little indifferent to what was happening in there. But as I read further, I felt myself getting absorbed into the pages and could sympathize with Christopher in a many parts of the story. I wouldn’t say that everyone must read this story, because I don’t think that everyone will be able to stomach it. But I’d say that you should give it a try without going in with many expectations. That way, it’s okay if you don’t like it, but if you do, you’ve gotten a gem for life. And I think that’s true for all books. J

As a parting word: There’s Sherlock Holmes in here, and if you haven’t read The Hound of the Baskervilles (I’d be very surprised to hear), then skip the pages around 88-90. Issued in public interest. 😀

Rating: 4/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Dogalize.com.

If you’d like to buy this book after reading my review, please use my Amazon Affiliate link below. The price remains the same for you, but I get a small commission off of every purchase that you make!

Here’s the Affiliate link: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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