A Novel Idea – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon

curious
Image Source: http://www.goodreads.com

I love this book, and it has to be one of my favourite books of recent years. I’ve read it a number of times, both as a personal selection and as part of a book club, and it remains one of my favourites. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the South Bank Show Book Award and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. It has more recently been made in to a stage show in London, and the production is quite amazing. They capture the essence of this book in the most fantastic and imaginative way. Watching the stage show inspired me to read the book once again, and I was not disappointed.

I’m wondering what genre to allocate it to. Taking the story literally (had you read the preface without reading the book itself) you might put it in the murder mystery category, but I feel that it is so much more than this, as it offers a great insight in to the mind of a person with Asperger’s. Don’t be put off by that. It’s not a medical book or self help book, far from it, but a book that unravels a murder mystery through the eyes of the narrator, Christopher Boone, who just happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Christopher is 15, he’s extremely gifted when it comes to maths and numbers, but knows and understands very little about human beings and social interaction. With poor communication skills, he lives in an insular world of repetitive and sometimes obsessive routine. He detests the colours yellow and brown and dislikes being touched, by anybody; his only form of physical interaction being to press the palm of his hand against his Dad’s when needing to be calmed. He has never ventured very far on his own and rarely engages with strangers, but when he finds the neighbour’s dog laying dead on the lawn, with a garden fork sticking out of it, he makes it his mission to identify the murderer. This takes him on a terrifying journey that turns his whole life upside down.

I love that this book is written from Christopher’s perspective as we get an insight in to Christopher, and Asperger’s Syndrome, and begin to explore the world as he sees it. It’s an interesting and engaging angle, and one which the author totally pulls off.

 

Maybe I also love it because I like writing lists and am not a big fan of odd numbers!

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