Tuesday, September 22, 2009

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

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.


How it was obtained:
My first book that I purchased here in Thailand! I got it at a book sale in the mall. I know, bad Patrick! Finish your list!

Time spent on the "to read" shelf:
Maybe 2-3 days.

Days spent reading it:
2 days.

Why I read it:
This little gem of a book ended up on one of those "BBC must read 100 books of all time!" lists. How it ended up there, I'm not quite sure. But that's where it first caught my eye. Then I saw it at the C&MA guest house here in Thailand. Then I saw it at this book sale. When books keep popping up on my radar, I usually try to check them out.

Brief review:
I loved this book! It was quirky and unique. I always love unique. The narrator is Christopher. He is a young man with Asperger syndrome (or this is what I surmised, he never comes out and says it). He is socially awkward, but in math and science he is brilliant.

This tale is a murder mystery that Christopher tries to solve. A dog, Wellington, is killed across the street from Christopher with a garden fork. As Christopher begins to unravel the mystery, the heart of this book unfolds. You see what Christopher's condition has meant for his family and the painful decisions that were made. There is a lot of emotional material in the book, but it's slightly removed because it is told through the eyes of Christopher who clearly does not understand the nuances of events that take place around him. Pulling off the emotional material with a slight detachment is Mark Haddon's crowning achievement in this book. You feel great sympathy for Christopher as we journey through this mystery with him.

This book was top-notch. I only wish the author had left out the numerous f-words throughout the book. They were completely unnecessary, even if reflecting the speech of real-life people. Besides that, I highly recommend to anyone who wants a book that is told from a unique perspective, with an incredible protagonist, it is very funny (although Christopher claims to make no jokes, Mark Haddon clearly knows how to set up some great lines), and has a ton of heart. I highly recommend.

Favorite quote:
"I also said that I cared about dogs because they were faithful and honest, and some dogs were cleverer and more interesting than some people. Steve, for example, who comes to school on Thursdays, needs help to eat his food and could not even fetch a stick. Siobhan asked me not to say this to Steve's mother."

-Actually my favorite quote is the last paragraph of the book, but it wouldn't be fair to write that paragraph now would it?

5 out of 5.

Final Word: Curious.

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