Thursday, July 19, 2018

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

I have wanted to read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time since it first came out, but it hasn’t made it to the top of my pile until now with its inclusion on the PBS Great American Read list.  What I found was a book that made me both laugh and cry, one that was touching and unique.  It was quite a book!

Christopher is a fifteen-year-old boy with autism who has decided to write a book.  He knows that people like mysteries, so he frames the story around the murder of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, and the events that surround it.  Christopher ruminates over the death of his mother two years before and his love of math and science.  He really wants to take the A level math tests and have a career in science.  Will Christopher solve the mystery, and will he be able to navigate the world?

The book became so much more than a mystery as it really went into Christopher’s home life.   It was really sad, but also seemed realistic, to read about the struggles his parents had in raising them.  I was horrified by one part where his Dad grew enraged and got physical with him.  But I really felt for his Dad later in the book.  I liked that the characters were flawed, but realistic. 

Christopher with all his quirks, was a likeable character.  Even though I am not autistic, I could identify with him. I enjoyed his love of math and science, and of animals. He reminded me a lot of Don in The Rosie Project which I read earlier this year.  I really like how Christopher just says whatever is on his mind and is very truthful on his thoughts.  This was a great coming of age story and journey and I loved it.

I also enjoyed the graphics and pictures throughout the book which seemed believable that Christopher would include.  I have heard this has been made into a play and I think it would be a very interesting play to watch.

My favorite quotes:

“I like dogs.  You always know what a dog is thinking.  It has four moods.  Happy, sad, cross and concentrating.  Also, dogs are faithful, and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk.”

“I think people believe in heaven because they don’t like the idea of dying, because they want to carry on living, and they don’t like the idea that other people will move into their house and put their things into the rubbish.”

“But I don’t take any notice because I don’t listen to what other people say and only sticks and stones can break my bones and I have my Swiss Army knife if they hit me and if I kill them it will be self-defense and I won’t go to prison.”

“But sometimes we get sad about things and we don’t like to tell other people that we are sad about them.  We like to keep it a secret.  Or sometimes we are sad, but we don’t really know we are sad.  So, we say we aren’t sad.  But really we are.”

I LOVED the last line of the novel, but it’s a major spoiler so I won’t write it here.

Overall, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an excellent novel that will make you both laugh and cry as you enjoying Christopher’s coming of age story.

Book Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. I read this quite a long time ago. It was very good and very sad for me at the same time.

  2. That is a great description. I felt the same way!