“I wrote a book, and that means that I can do anything.”
That simple sentence (actually it is a compound sentence) ends Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. For many years I have heard many great things about that book, so I finally sat down and read it (actually, I listened to it …. I have been on a roll with the audiobooks lately).
Curious Incident is the story of fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone, a math savant with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high function form of autism. The book opens when Christopher finds his neighbor’s dog murdered with a garden fork. He promptly sets off to solve the mystery and write a book about it while doing so. Christopher soon learns that he is in for a whole lot more than he bargained for.
Although his lack of people skills, part of Asperger’s Syndrome, often means that the reader knows more than Christopher, and knows it sooner, Christopher has a lot to teach. The way he sees the world is far from “normal”. Christopher notices everything, every sign, every person, every crack in the ground …. everything. This makes it hard for him to travel outside of his comfort zone, but it doesn’t stop him from reaching his goal of solving the mystery of the dead dog.
Christopher’s journey is at times maddening, I felt like I was watching a horror movie and yelling at the protagonist not to open the door that leads down to the dark basement because the killer is laying in wait underneath the stairs. But Christopher always manages to create the best out of his situation. Christopher’s journey is also inspiring. If Christopher can write a book, then he can do anything. And if Christopher can do anything, then there is no reason why all of us couldn’t do anything to which we put our minds.
While searching for an image of the cover to include in this post I found many images of different versions of the book and thought that I would include a collage of the covers.
A word of warning: This book is often listed as a young adult title. It is a great book for young adults, however there are some sensitive topics and language used in the book. I would give it to a student who I thought could handle mature language and adult topics, including brief discussions of sexuality and marital infidelity.