Book Review – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

Annie Yoskoski, Staff Writer

“Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.” With a character description like that, the reader has to want to know more about this kid. Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,” is one of the oddest, yet best, books I have ever read.

The main character, Christopher has a form of autism extremely similar to Asperger syndrome, which makes social interactions very difficult but usually the person is also highly intelligent. Even though he is highly intelligent, he is still young.

Taking on the mystery of a murdered neighborhood pet, Christopher navigates adult topics and an adult city with high function, but the eyes of a child. This writing perspective had to be difficult for an adult to write from. Surprisingly the point of view didn’t feel forced. I really felt like I was inside the mind of a high-functioning, socially awkward kid who was barely in elementary school but crossing a big city by himself.

One of the funniest things about the book is Christopher’s responses to adults. Someone would react to Christopher’s journey with shock and ask how he got to their house, which was miles from his. Instead of saying something mundane, Christopher responds with something like “I took seventy-two steps down the street and made a left turn and then one hundred and eighty two more steps…” then throws in something random like “I stopped to pet
a gray cat and it was really fluffy”.

Another main point of the book that I loved was how delicately the author handled Christopher’s problem. Haddon alludes that Christopher knows he is different, but does not find it to be a bad thing — and it isn’t. Something like Asperger’s syndrome has to be dealt with delicately and this book does that. It manages to be funny without making fun of the syndrome or anyone who has it. The true humor lies in the situations that Christopher gets himself into, which can happen to anyone.