The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time

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Rating: 3/5

Now that’s a title you can’t miss. It’s very evident from the title itself that the story isn’t going to be a very intense one; the best choice to take a break from my previous read. From the summary at the back cover, I got an Enid Blyton feel. But, honestly, the book was nowhere near any of the Enid Blyton’s works. It was completely different from what I had expected.

The story is about a 15 years old Christopher who is suffering from Asperger Syndrome (AS). He finds his neighbour’s dog dead struck by a garden fork and vows to find who murdered the dog much to the dislike of his father. The book follows the thoughts and feelings of Christopher and how different it is from a normal person. In a subtle way the author, Mark Haddon, brings out how meticulous and detailed the child’s thoughts are and that the only distinction is they have a slightly different set of behavioural skills. The way Christopher analyses the situation, prioritises the suspects and goes about his sleuthing work is so much fun to read. His innocent thoughts are so true that it ends up as mild sarcasm. He puts Sherlock Holmes as his role model detective but doesn’t like Arthur Conan Doyle. Each and every action of his has a reason behind which I don’t think a normal person has. He slowly closes in on who could have killed the dog and that’s where the author takes a U-turn with the story.

The incident of the dog murder is over by half-time and the story completely takes a different shift. The murderer is revealed and the story travels into the life of Christopher and his equation with his parents. As much as it is interesting at the beginning, the narrative becomes repetitive and boring. No offence to the people affected by the syndrome here, my only complaint is against the author’s story telling. He focuses more on how Christopher fights his fears and does things which he had practically never dreamt of. But the writing lacks the sarcasm and fun factor which proved to be the hero of the first half. The author shows how a child with AS requires constant attention. Christopher’s father takes care of him completely but one mistake- his son completely loses trust on him. A trust once broken is hard to regain. I guess from this above gist, you would have guessed that the book slowly becomes a family drama at the end. I had mixed feelings about the second part of the story.

I loved how the author projected the thoughts of a child with Asperger’s. It was actually fun to read the long sentences which explained Christopher’s long thoughts. Christopher gives so much attention to detail and the author has excellently captured that. The way Christopher uses Maths and Logic is fantastic. The author scores really high in the first half; not as much in the next.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a light and pleasant read. It could have been a much better work, nevertheless it’s completely different and the hard work of the author in portraying the mind of an Asperger’s child is very evident. Read if you don’t have anything interesting in your TBR list.


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