Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Oi, what a weekend. New York City never fails to give this little Iowa girl stories, but this trip was a doozy. We hit some traffic on the drive up, which of course James insisted take place late at night. The four hour trip took about five, and we got in around 1am. Not too shabby I suppose. Saturday was fantastic: hanging out with friends, eating delicious German food, having amazing Italian dessert, drinking quite a bit, and seeing my future sister-in-law sing at Sullivan Hall with her band White Rhino (go check them out!). And other than seeing a man use the street as his personal bathroom in broad daylight in Brooklyn, I can say that I really love visiting NYC.

Sunday came with a nice brunch with family and full intentions of getting back to NoVA with enough time to eat dinner and relax before starting the workweek again. Unfortunately, the New Jersey Turnpike happened. Two hours of sitting in crawling traffic in the pouring rain only 45 minutes into the trip. An apparent “emergency repair” on the road, 15 miles ahead of where we were. We had to stop and get gas at one of the rest stops, as well as try and get the dogs to “go.” Did I mention it was pouring down rain? The place was a madhouse. An hour later, we were back on the road and on our way. Sadly, on the home stretch, the pouring rain came down so hard, you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of you. Every car was crawling at 20 miles an hour. It was a nightmare. So in the end, our 4 hour trip turned into 8 hours, and we fell asleep almost immediately upon returning home.

Now to find a clever way to tie my story into the book review about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon… You never know what life will bring you. That’s a good one. Very clever if I do say so. The story is told by a young boy named Christopher. He never comes out and says what exactly is wrong, other than stating he has behavioral problems, but it is clear that he has autism. He does not like to be touched, has trouble comprehending human emotions, but has an amazing memory and is excellent in math (the chapters are numbered by prime number). The story begins with the neighbor’s poodle dead (by pitchfork), Christopher finding him, and vowing to find the true murderer.

However, this is not truly a mystery novel. Sure, there is mystery as Christopher starts his investigation and meets with resistance, but there is more to it than that. It is much more about the discoveries he makes regarding his own life and fears. What I find most interesting about the novel is that the emotional story is told by a boy who has no understanding of emotions, often making the most heartbreaking moments unbearable. The author does an amazing job since you are still able to feel the emotions of the other characters behind Christopher’s apathetic and stoic nature.

The book was a very quick read, around 225 pages, some of which are filled with illustrations. My only real complaint about the book was that at times I felt like I was reading one giant run-on sentence. I found myself frustrated with this along with the narrator’s lack of empathy that never wavered, not in the slightest. It is interesting character development, and maybe an insight into what it could be like to have autism or to take care of and love someone who does. And despite the small pitfalls, I found myself emotionally attached, if not disappointed, at the end.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is something completely different from anything I have read before, and I am not sure there is anything out there like it. For this reason alone you should read it. For those that need more convincing: it is an emotional, slightly heartwarming story with an unusual main character that will keep you turning the pages to see what he says or does next.

I am disappointed that I got no comments about what book I should read or books you would like reviewed, but I am not even sure how many followers I have. I am going to continue with the more “pop-culture”-esque books to try and get more readers as well as quickly knock out some of these books. I grabbed Four Blondes by Candace Bushnell. I think it will be a light read, in both subject matter and length. Then I might switch it up a bit. I am also going to try and write more, both reviews and general topics, so start commenting!

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4 thoughts on “Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

  1. Life is about as unpredictable as it gets. If you want to be surprised, disgusted, impressed, and have a new found appreciation (or distaste) for the restaurant industry, check out Kitchen Confidential. Non-fiction change of pace as well.

  2. Maybe check out Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno. It’s got a similar feel to Curious Incident but the author does more interesting things with the story and the book itself. It’s very possibly my favorite book of all time, although it is depressing.

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