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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: A Novel (Alex Awards (Awards)) Hardcover – July 31, 2003
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"Mark Haddon's portrayal of an emotionally dissociated mind is a superb achievement. He is a wise and bleakly funny writer with rare gifts of empathy.”
-Ian McEwan, author of ATONEMENT and AMSTERDAM
"I have never read anything quite like Mark Haddon's funny and agonizingly honest book, or encountered a narrator more vivid and memorable. I advise you to buy two copies; you wonπt want to lend yours out."
--Arthur Golden, author of MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA
“The Curious Incident brims with imagination, empathy, and vision -- plus it's a lot of fun to read.”
-Myla Goldberg, author of BEE SEASON
From the Inside Flap
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christophers carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbors dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.
Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christophers mind.
And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddons choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion. The effect is dazzling, making for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing is a mind that perceives the world literally.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the freshest debuts in years: a comedy, a heartbreaker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read.
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This is a book written from the first-person point of view of a fifteen year old boy with autism and a very good understanding of facts and numbers (maths). He focuses and relies on the here and now, the real things of this world, and math problems. He doesn't like idioms, similes, metaphors, slang, or imagination. Facts are much more preferred, thank you. The book starts on the night that he finds Wellington skewered with a garden fork on Mrs. Shears front lawn, an event that he is later blamed and questioned about. He determines that he has to find out who murdered Wellington and the life that he thought he knew and was comfortable with swiftly begins to unravel. For a boy who doesn't understand human emotions a lot of events puzzle him and he has a hard time coping and understanding why some people do and choose the things that they do, it's not logical, even if it is human.
Mark Haddon does a remarkable job at capturing the mindset and ideas of an individual with autism and expressing it in a way readers can relate to. This book illustrates how some mindsets can be different. Where some individuals focus on feelings, others enjoy literature, and still others are focused on numbers and facts, things that are measurable and recordable, like Christopher. Sometimes different mindsets make certain things easy for individuals to understand while other topics and ideas are alien and something that makes ones' head spin. This is a tale of murder, mystery, a hidden past, and an unsure future of a boy who likes to deal in absolutes and certainties. But all it takes is one variable in the equation to change for the outcome be to a different world entirely.
Overall this book is really well-written and an interesting read. Highly recommended for those working with individuals with autism or other neo-neurological learning disabilities. Also a good read for those looking for different perspectives or books that make you question the writer/reporters point of view.
Haddon helps you understand people on the autism spectrum in terms of how they think, why they respond as they do, and how they see the world around them. You also will understand how other people affect those on the spectrum. If you have people in your life who have autism, this is a must-read.
Now, aside from that, this book is a must-read because it is written so well. Haddon never drops character as Christopher. He never takes shortcuts to make Christopher anything other than who he is, and Haddon never apologizes for Christopher's occasional hurtful reactions. These ups and downs are all part of Christopher and, as Haddon expertly shows, not much different from the ups and downs we each have. The people in Christopher's life are far crueler than he is and far more destructive. Christopher's innocence gets abused by these people, yet he never succumbs to the cynicism as most of us would.
I loved the complexities of this book, which is another thing that makes it SO GOOD to discuss.
Christopher John Francis Boone is one of my favorite fictional characters. Discover him and see if he is one of yours.
Although I can truthfully say that I could understand Christopher’s feelings through each and every word, I had difficulty loving him as an individual. Throughout the book, Christopher comes to strongly dislike a certain man, but the man truly wants to love Christopher with all his heart. Christopher begins to stop displaying any sort of affection to the man, which really left me with pain in my heart. As a sympathetic person, I felt extremely horrible about the situation. I do realize that Christopher has trouble understanding others’ feelings, but if he just showed one small moment of love to the man, I would come to enjoy the main character’s unique personality.
Anyone searching for a small ray of hope would definitely come to love this book. This novel builds up to the amazing theme at the very end, which indubitably gave me ambition to do just about anything. Readers who are searching for a book filled with mystery and action will be thrilled. I can certainly say I had a wonderful little adventure of my own by reading this small paperback.