Bookshelf #8: Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

Just before Christmas, I picked up a copy of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I’ve had read Haddon’s other two books in the past (The Red House being a particular favorite), so I decided to give this one a try as well.

The novel tells the story of fifteen year-old Christopher, a boy with what appears to be Asperger’s syndrome, who investigates the killing of his neighbor’s dog. What begins as a murder-mystery (in Christopher’s eyes) turns out to be his story of dealing with the world through his own eyes. During the story, he ventures out into the world on his own for the first time and has to deal with betrayal and disappointment by his loved ones.

It is interesting to read the story from Christopher’s perspective, as his view of the world is so unique and different, shaped by mathematical formulas and a curious understanding of the way people work. Through his eyes, normal tasks of everyday life become burdens while mathematical problems and scientific approaches are a breeze.

While of course, this is Haddon’s interpretation of what it might be like to live with a developmental disorder, it is still so interesting to get acquainted with the storyline not through a character who is in touch with his emotions and understands social queues, but one that is detached and challenged by social interactions.

Having been published in the early 2000’s, this novel sure isn’t a new discovery, but it is one that I have thoroughly enjoyed, much like Haddon’s other works. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly suggest you do so and take it as a starting point into Haddon’s bibliography. The novel has also been adapted for stage and screen.

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