Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time » User review

Creative writing about a heretofore unwriteable subject

  • Aug 8, 2003
Mark Haddon has captured the essence of the mind of an autistic child (Christopher) and has written a story that is more about the way the autistic mind needs to make the terrifying world concrete in order to exist within it than it is about the 'detective story' it purports to be. To that end THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME is a successful exercise. Haddon understands that emotion and physical touch are beasts of prey to the autistic mind and electing to have Christopher set out on an adventure to "make sense" of a hostile and brutal act of murder of a dog opens the floodgate for the experiences ventured. We are allowed to see how Christopher views marital battles and infidelities and manages the impossible task of running away from disorder in a small town in England to the even madder disorder of London.

All of this writing is accomplished and praiseworthy, but in the end I found the novel tedious and pushed beyond the level of tolerance in repeating number sequences, temper tantrum-like behavior, etc. We learn more how the autistic mind functions than we learn the about intended detective story line. Recommended with reservations: you need to know that you're in for some editorial extravagances and if you can get past those, then this is a unique and good book.

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
More The Curious Incident of the Do... reviews
review by . June 28, 2010
I read this book because of the eyecatching cover and it completely swept me up! The narrator of this book is a young boy, Christopher John Francis Boone, who has Asperger syndrome. He is brilliant at mathematics and he lives with his father because his mother has died some years prior. The story is set up to be a sort of mystery novel when Christopher discovers his neighbor's dog killed in the yard. He decides to investigate the death and this book is a documentation of his thoughts and investigation. &n …
review by . June 24, 2010
A real page turner! I read this book in one day. It is an easy fast-paced read. One of the most unique and eccentric books ever. There is nothing I could think of to compare it to. Gives a great deal of insight to mental illness and human emotion while the main character lacks that quality. It was also very funny. I would recommend this book to just about anyone.            
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
I actually judged this book by the cover, and doubted it would be of any interest. After being forced to read it by a friend, I must say this is definitely a book worth reading!
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Fascinating! Step into the mind of a high-functioning autistic boy whose discovery of a simple mystery leads to an adventure of logic, mistrust, and desperate flight. The narrative is astonishingly intricate. Utterly fascinating.
Quick Tip by . May 19, 2010
Well written from the autistic child's point of view.
review by . September 18, 2009
This is one of the most original and spellbinding novels I've read in years. It is written from a perspective of an autistic teenage boy in an incredibly convincing way. The book starts as a murder-mystery, and although the murder of a dog may not sound like the most pressing crime that you need to read about, the reader is quickly drawn into the story. What makes the whole situation unique is precisely the autistic perspective of the narrator. The familiar world that we all take for granted is …
review by . March 12, 2009
Mark Haddon has written a rather clever novel from the point of view of a 15-year old autistic child - Christopher Haddon. If we take as a given that this is an accurate portrayal of the way an autistic person's mind works, it explains and lends empathy to those with autism. We can see how Christopher's actions, to him, seem entirely logical and normal, whereas to those he interacts with they seem bizarre and abnormal (excepting his father and teachers).     The story unfolds …
review by . February 10, 2006
Having worked with children with autism/Asperger's for years, I found Curious Incident curious indeed. Written from the point of view of a teenager, the narrative provides wonderful insight into the cognitive processes of a person with this type of disability. As well as being a compelling detective story, Incident brings home the idea that there are different versions of reality, depending upon who's doing the experiencing. It beautifully illustrated the mutual misunderstanding and frustration …
review by . March 28, 2005
This is a wonderfully entertaining and touching and sometimes frustrating book. What first attracted me to it was the basic premise...a mystery (the "murder" of a neighbor's dog) investigated by an autistic boy...told through the eyes of the boy himself. Christopher, our narrator, is as unlikely a hero as you're going to encounter in a piece of fiction that isn't science fiction or fantasy based.     Apparently Mark Haddon worked with autistic people for awhile, and his knowledge …
review by . February 21, 2005
I had heard a lot of good things about the book The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon. After waiting for some time for it to come in at the library, I finally got the chance to read it. It's definitely different and will make you adjust your reality...    Christopher Boone is an autistic child who lives with his father in a small town in England. When the neighbor's dog is found killed, Boone decides that he should do some investigating to figure out …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #96
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book


Mark Haddon's bitterly funny debut novel,The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is a murder mystery of sorts--one told by an autistic version of Adrian Mole. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is mathematically gifted and socially hopeless, raised in a working-class home by parents who can barely cope with their child's quirks. He takes everything that he sees (or is told) at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange behavior of his elders and peers.

Late one night, Christopher comes across his neighbor's poodle, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork. Wellington's owner finds him cradling her dead dog in his arms, and has him arrested. After spending a night in jail, Christopher resolves--against the objection of his father and neighbors--to discover just who has murdered Wellington. He is encouraged by Siobhan, a social worker at his school, to write a book about his investigations, and the result--quirkily illustrated, with each chapter given its own prime number--is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.


Haddon's novel is a startling performance. This is the sort of book that could turn condescending, or exploitative, or overly sentimental, or grossly tasteless very easily, but Haddon navigates those dangers with a sureness of touch that is extremely rare among first-time novelists. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is original, clever, and genuinely moving: this one is a must-read. ...

view wiki


ISBN-10: 1400032717
ISBN-13: 978-1400032716
Author: Mark Haddon
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Vintage
Polls with this book
2666: A Novel

Rate these Bestsellers!


© 2015 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since