Saturday, 11 November 2006

Book Review: The Curious Incident Of the Dog In the Night-time (Mark Haddon)

Finally got around to reading and finishing The Curious Incident Of the Dog In the Night-time, and besides being easy to read, it's also easy to review. So here we go...

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Title: The Curious Incident Of the Dog In the Night-time
Author: Mark Haddon



Synopsis (From Amazon.co.uk):
Christopher is 15 and lives in Swindon with his father. He has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. He is obsessed with maths, science and Sherlock Holmes but finds it hard to understand other people.

When he discovers a dead dog on a neighbour's lawn he decides to solve the mystery and write a detective thriller about it. As in all good detective stories, however, the more he unearths, the deeper the mystery gets - for both Christopher and the rest of his family.


What I Liked:
  • Very interesting narrative, and unconventional perspective
  • Gives a pretty good feel of how Christopher thinks
  • Christopher is a very endearing little fella
  • Very easy to read
  • The book was actually small and thin enough to fit in the back pocket of my jeans...


What I Didn't Like:
  • Not much didn't like, really.
  • Mathematics. *GROAN*
  • Sometimes the dialogue did seem a little... forced

Summary:

This is an interesting book. I like books that have different styles of narration, and this one tries to see things from the point of view of a child with autism, and can only see things literally.

The result is one of the most interestingly narrated books Iv'e read in a while, and possiby one of the easiest-to-read award-winning books I have ever read.

As the main characters, Christopher is very endearing, and you are always rooting for him. The description of how he sees things, and how he perceives people so literally is frustrating and sad at the same time, because you start feeling for him and wish that things could be different for him, and makes you wish you could help him see things in a less literal way.

Sure, a lot of the book are fillers (IMHO) that talk about math problems (There's even an appendix about how Christopher solves a math exam problem), and other assorted trivia and knowledge that sound like they were lifted from an encyclopedia, but these were probably essential to show how literally and facually Christopher sees things, and his photographic memory as well.

And it makes you so sad that such an ingenius mind cannot understand a metaphor or a joke. The story itself is simple, but it is Haddon's stroke of genius in making us read things from the perspective of an autistic child that makes this book so much more than just the story of another kid looking for his family.

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