Friday, March 2, 2012

2012 BOTY: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is written from the perspective of Christopher, who is autistic. Christopher lives with his father in a quiet neighborhood in England. He doesn't do well with people, but is amazing at his abilities with numbers. He is studying to take his A levels.

Christopher discovers the neighbor's dog dead in her front yard, impaled by a pitchfork. He decides that he will write a murder mystery novel and solve the crime. He works to gather details in order to discover the murderer, against the wishes of his father. His actions inadvertently set forth a chain reaction that results in a rather tumultuous situation. obviously that's a bit of an odd summary. It's hard to put together a good lead in without blowing a little bit of the story. Also, it's a little like being in the book itself. The style of writing is occasionally convoluted and difficult to put together. However, it does what it is intended to do. I'm going to be honest...this book is an easy read, but then again it isn't. 

I think Haddon does an amazing job capturing the nature of an autistic child. It is very detailed, well organized and the story line is easy to put together. The situations become a bit dramatic on occasion, but that is to be expected based on Christopher's personality. Despite sometimes feeling frustrated with Christopher's manner of speaking, I did actually enjoy reading it.

Thoughout the reading of the book I tried to decide how I felt about it. I wasn't enamored with the plot or the characters, but I was impressed by it...if that makes any sense. I think that the writing was just...real. It seemed like a real person was telling the story.

Although it was easy and quick for me to read, the book did have one fatal flaw. I did not enjoy the ending. I hate it when that happens. I don't like investing a gob of time in a book just to be let down at the end. Would I read this book again? Probably not. Would I recommend it to others? Possibly. I think it is a good portrayal of the autistic mind and it really is some fantastic writing. I did manage to take away something from the book, so I think that's worth a little praise.

Overall, I struggled as to how to score this one. Ultimately, it felt rather balanced in the pros and cons arena. So...The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time receives 3 out of 5 stars.


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