Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

This improbable story of Christopher’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.
I thought, while tiny, this description from the back of the book was okay to use, instead of creating my own. It's what caught my attention in the first place, so I figured it would catch yours. Well, that, and the cover and title. And I'm so thankful it did, because I really really really loved this book.

It doesn't blatantly tell you in the novel, but Christopher has Asperger's Syndrome, which is very similar to autism. This made the narrative unbelievably interesting, as he can't comprehend emotions. There aren't any unnecessary descriptions that many novels have. Everything was simple and plain as day written there on the page. I like the simplicity of the narrative and how there were tons of interesting facts throughout. Plus, Christopher, besides being a good narrator, is a great, dynamic character. At the beginning, he's never walked farther than the shop down the street by himself, and he's never really gone anywhere other than school, home, the shop, and France. And he hates strangers. But in his search to find Wellington's killer, he brings himself to question people he's never talked to, and when he discovers the truth, it pushes him to travelling all the way from Swindon to London. By himself. This change makes his character so strong, which is a great change. His character develops really well throughout the novel.

I also enjoyed the illustrations in the book, which make it really interesting. And there are aspects of it that make it almost like a mix of Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines (and not in a copyright suing kind of way. Just in the capitals of countries, and the maths parts), which, of course, is the opposite of a negative comment. There are footnotes, an aspect of some books that makes them clever, and an appendix (all about math, and that I surprisingly understood all of). It's a witty, charming novel that I won't forget until I'm old and have dementia and can't even remember if I put on my shoes.

Plus, I'm very partial to British novels, because I love the style of writing and the language. I enjoyed Mark Haddon's writing and hope to be able to buy his other novel, A Spot of Bother.

Definitely 5 out of 5 delicious steaming cups of coffee. In little red mugs.



Sadako said...

I've heard great things about it, and the fact that it's from the POV of someone with Asperger's is really cool. Good review!

Kate said...

I read this book a year and a half ago, I think. I'm awful with dates. But it really was excellent. I'm glad you enjoyed it :)