The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour's dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.
At very first sight, I thought that this was gonna be another funny novel written for kids and adults alike, about a talking dog and his curious (Curiosity only kills cats) adventures in the night, with a twist to the mystery towards the end.
But unexpectedly, it turned out to be a realistically simple, yet touching story about a autistic teenager named Christopher Boone (seemingly the author of the book) and his quest to solve the mystery of Who Killed Wellington (The-Neighbour's-Dog)?, his parents, and of how he resolved his problems and troubles along pursuing his quest for the truth. (No spoilers here...)
Now I know why the book won the 2003 Whitbread Book of the Year Award, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the South Bank Show Book Award and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Like what Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season reviewed: The book "brims with imagination, empathy and vision--and is a lot of fun to read".
For someone who loves descriptive books, I find it astounding that the author has managed to portray the thinking of an autistic mind in the most detailed manner, how he observes things, people, colours and occurances around him through an autistic child's eyes, all the ongoing thoughts inside his head, and the way he communicates with people. His portrayal of Christopher's father and mother's anxiety and love towards him was also heart-wrenchingly real, and made me feel sad and funny all at the same time.
Throughout the book, readers are also "sprinkled" with little bits of facts, illustrations and wisdom like short excerpts from Sherlock Holmes, A level maths questions, The Case of The Cottingley Fairies (which was in the book Jean Adnan gave me) and even a description of a Malaysia- Truly Asia tourist poster!
What can I say... For a whole week, I brought the book to read in the morning at 7.30am-8.30am while waiting for my colleague to fetch me to work, and the simplistic writing of the book did not even make me fall asleep, but made me want to hold it and read it every minute of my time.