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

Guys, it’s happened. We’re over half way through the year and I have just given out my first 5/5 star rating. You have no idea how happy this book made me!

It couldn’t have come at a better time either since I read it curled up in a darkened bedroom while suffering from a migraine – it was very necessary.

I’ve been asking myself why I loved this book so much ever since I finished it, and I’m still not sure if I can really pinpoint its brilliance. It’s amazing for so many reasons, but I guess I’ll just focus on a few of the points that really stood out to me.

If you know anyone with autism or Asperger’s, like I do, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to picture Christopher as a character. So many of his quirks are one’s that I’ve seen mirrored in real-life, which made the book really believable. Haddon didn’t try to represent every experience of autism and Asperger’s, which was definitely the right choice, it means that the character feels vivid but also gives an insight into the thought process of people with autism or other special needs, which is so important in our world.

But the narrative is perfect in so many ways above and beyond Christopher as a character. Since the story’s told within the confines of his inner monologue, the book ran the risk of becoming patronising or overly simple. However, Haddon makes excellent use of dramatic irony throughout, creating a much more interesting narrative. There are so many points in this book where the reader sees something that Christopher can’t, or something we’ve learned about Christopher that the other characters are oblivious to. It really allows the reader to identify with Christopher without oversimplifying the complexities of his condition or losing interest.

But of course, the book does not hinge on Christopher’s character, but also on the plot, which (unsurprisingly) I loved as well. I loved that the events of the novel really showed Christopher’s ability to be independent, despite the obvious difference in the way he thinks. Yes, it could be argued that he was safer when he was cushioned by his parents and his routine, but it also showed his ability to problem solve and make it in the real world. Alright, he may not have done it in a conventional way, he was able to survive on his own.

However, if I could only pick one thing I loved about this book, it would have to be attention to detail. Haddon obviously spent a lot of time crafting a novel which convincingly captured all of Christopher’s quirks – the way he has to add red food colouring to his curry, for example. Even the numbering of the chapters is unique. Although these things were minor details, they really captured the intricacies of Asperger’s and autism showing the different pathways in Christopher’s brain.

Overall, I think it’s safe to say I can find no fault in this novel. Even the dynamic of the broken family, which I usually hate, was well handled and necessary to the plot. I’d definitely say this is one of my new favourite books of all time and that I can’t wait for my physical copy to arrive so I can start lending it out to people.

If you’ve read it, please let me know in the comments down below, I could talk about this book forever.

3 Comments

  1. What I really love about this book was how realistic it was about the incident with the dog. I know some people expected it to be all about the plot and the mystery behind the incident with the dog and are therefore disappointed, but I absolutely loved it, especially with Christopher’s character and how carefully it had been crafted. I think I only read it last year yet after reading this review I’m feeling the need to do a reread!

    Liked by 1 person

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