Bookbyte: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Curious IncidentMark Haddon’s debut novel centers around fifteen-year-old Christopher. Christopher lives with his dad. Christopher goes to school every day. Christopher is investigating the murder of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, who was impaled on the yard with a pitchfork. Christopher is autistic.

Getting inside Christopher’s head is a wild trip, and an exhausting one. He has very strict routines and rules” “Not liking yellow things or brown things and refusing to touch yellow things or brown things. Smashing things when I am angry or confused. Screaming when I am angry of confused.” He is unable to perceive emotions. Dialogs are strictly he said/she said affairs. Christopher is writing this book, so of course he doesn’t mention emotions: they’re foreign concepts to him. Haddon has crafted a strong, memorable voice for his unique protagonist.

But Christopher is sharp and resourceful. And he has some very deep thoughts about life and the universe. “I think prime numbers are like life,” he says. “They are very logical, but you could never work out all the rules. Even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”

Christopher rides the special-needs bus to school. He is different from most of us. But after spending a few hours with Christopher, knowing all of his thoughtful musings, and learning how he deals with a variety of situations, you begin to notice a lot of similarities with Christopher, and to appreciate the differences.

Learn more about Mark Haddon at his blog: www.markhaddon.com

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