The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Haddon, Mark


Doubleday, New York. 2003. 226 p.


This is another one of those books that came highly recommended and didn’t disappoint. As cliché as it may sound, this book is truly different than anything I’ve read in a long time. It’s completely unique. And that is really refreshing in a time when every idea seems recycled and hackneyed right out of the box.


The book follows Christopher, a fifteen-year-old boy growing up outside of London who has autism. Christopher, like many children with autism, is socially awkward but very gifted in other areas, and in Christopher’s case his strength is math and numbers. He can calculate any problem he takes on and nearly waxes philosophical on many old math problems as he narrates his story.


When the book opens, Christopher is living with his father after his mother’s recent death. His father is a good man who tries his best with Christopher even when he freaks out over tiny things that bother him or has accidents in his clothes. Life is relatively normal and peaceful for the two until Christopher discovers his neighbor’s dog murdered in the garden. Things get pretty complicated from there.


Christopher is one of the most compelling characters of my recent literary memory. He is one minute sweet and nurturing, like time with his pet mouse, and the next a terror who is not afraid to hit a policeman who touches him without his consent. The characters around Christopher are just as interesting and complex and really flesh out the life and experiences Christopher has. I don’t know if any explanation or criticism I could come up with would do this book enough justice. You simply must read it.