The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, is based in a English suburbia, in a large town called Swindon. Christopher, the main character, is an Autistic teenager and a mathematical genius. The reader follows his story as he undergoes a series of unfortunate events that mostly deal with his volatile domestic life.
It begins with a next-door neighbor’s dog who was killed with a garden fork (hence the picture). He decides to be a detective and find out who killed Wellington (the dead dog). His father does not want him nosing around in other people’s business, but he does anyway because he is writing a book about it. His father finds this out and hides the book, but that didn’t stop Christopher from searching for it. He finds the book, a long with 40+ letters addressed to him from his mother, who (up until this point) was dead. His father tries to explain and vows to never lie to him again, so he tells him that he killed the dog. Christopher becomes frightened of his father, and thinking that he might kill him, he decides to escape to his mother (who lives in London). Even though Chris’s father apologizes for what he did, Christopher doesn’t trust him and he leaves that night. He has never left Swindon and he is afraid of new things, so this is very difficult for him. He takes a train to London, avoiding police who want to take him back to his father. He finds his mother and stays with her, but she, her boyfriend and Chris’s father argue over him. She breaks up with her boyfriend soon after; she and Chris soon move to an apartment. The story ends with his father giving him a dog with the hopes of Chris speaking to him again.
Chris, the main character, intentions were to write a mystery novel about Wellington. Then, he found out his mother was still alive. He treats this as secondary to the mystery of Wellington’s death, even though it is obviously the more important issue at hand. There are a lot of instances like this in the book; where Chris doesn’t see the big picture and the reader does. This mainly due to Christopher’s condition. It also turns out to be the main reason why this book is very interesting. The reader sees life from inside Chris’s head. We (the reader) understand what he is thinking and why he is thinking it, what he is doing and why he is doing it, etc. There are also some slightly odd things that he does that are interesting… for example:
- Hiding in small spaces
- Not liking brown or yellow things
- Barking at people who threatens him
- Screaming and shutting down when there are too many people around him
- Not understanding many emotions
- Not laughing or smiling… ever
It is very interesting to be an autistic person’s head, and it teaches us (the reader) things we couldn’t otherwise learn. That’s why I like this book.