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

I decided to switch gears and read a book that I had planned for my Mental Illness Advocacy Reading Challenge

I read Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I’m STILL not sure what to make of it. I did enjoy some, but had a hard time trying to read through other parts of the book. I think a 3 star or maybe 3.5 rating out of 5 may be a good estimate.

I have to give the author some credit, I don’t think I was supposed to enjoy reading through some of the parts. The narration is scattered, almost stream of conscious style. That style fits except that it was from the narration of an autistic boy. I’m not sure you’d call that stream of conscious or if that’s just regular. Either way it was hard to follow often.

I didn’t enjoy seeing little sketches thrown around either. It seemed to cheapen the story for me. At the same time, it made the book feel more like the child’s book. I can envision him with a book notebook writing his “novel” with the help of his teacher or classroom aide.

I felt bad for the child’s father, and it really hardened me into thinking of how I would raise an autistic child if that is what life threw me. The deep things within the book are excellent. The father & mother, they’re relationship, how things turn out all make for a compelling and real-to-life read. The challenges of keeping the family together must be tough. With that said, I can’t see why so many comments on this book talk about it being a comedy. I don’t see this as the case at all. Some things are amusing, but I don’t think it was made to be a comedy. I’ve also seen some of Good Reads harping on it because they were told it was a mystery, and though the boy is trying to be a detective for a little while, that is not what this book is about either. The book is about the family through and through. The experiences the boy had traveling to London felt real to me as well. I definitely want to continue reading about autism and reading books like this one are great. Seeing the world from Christopher’s perspective, and thinking about your life in this context really makes you think.

I’m not sure I would recommend this book for everyone. If you’re interested in autism it’s an interesting read— reading the book in this light, you think about what Christopher has issues with, how he goes about solving issues or thinking about things, and following his logic is really fascinating. The book is a quick and easy read though: so if interested, it doesn’t take much investment.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


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