Erin Kendrick, January 7, 2011 (view all comments by Erin Kendrick)
I had high hopes for this book, but it didn't do much for me. A similar book I would recommend is "Extremely loud and incredibly close", they are both told by young boys and deal with them trying to solve a mystery, and I found "Extremely" to be much more engaging and had more meat to it.
"The Curious incident" is a quick read though, and even though it comes off as a light read, it is an interesting look into autism and can be rather dark at times.
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Alberta J, November 23, 2010 (view all comments by Alberta J)
Fifteen year old Christopher John Francis Boone isn’t your ordinary teenager. For enjoyment, Chris solves math problems, plays with his pet rat Toby, and also solves murder mysteries. The mystery of the neighbor Mrs. Shear’s dog is found dead. Christopher really shouldn’t mess around and be nosy with this neighborhood situation, but decides to get to the bottom of it. To calm himself down and relax, Chris solves math problems that no average person could even dream up and solve, and secludes himself into small spaces to feel safe when his world feels as if it is tumbling down. He screams when he is touched, and will not befriend the colors yellow and brown. Christopher does not talk to strangers, because they make him feel unsafe, he doesn’t change things around, and he lets car colors determine how his day is going to be played. Yes, Christopher John Francis Boone, is diagnosed with autism. Solving more than one mystery in this novel, Christopher learns about his quite dysfunctional family, close family members that aren’t truly deceased, who people really are, how he is different from others, and how the world really works in his hometown Swindon, United Kingdom.
Honestly, I would give this book about three out of five stars. I thought this novel would be much different than what I came to discover. This book was very heartbreaking for me, and somewhat hard to stick to reading. I felt as if the novel jumped around a bit too often and had many places where I was astonished that this section was actually included in the book. On the bright side, I loved how I was able to live in the shoes of someone that was much different than me. The characters helped too, to represent how others in the true world would treat someone with a disorder such as autism. I recommend this book to readers who wish to understand and be kind of entertained by the point of view of Chris. Yet, I do not recommend this book to people who want a book to have a clear purpose.
bbrrtt1, August 16, 2010 (view all comments by bbrrtt1)
I couldn't put this book down...written from the mind of an autistic boy, this book had all the complexity of a rich and well written novel with fully developed characters. It was very interesting to read a book from this perspective and I would highly recommend this to anyone. I loved the details and the way in which Christopher tells this story without worry about his thoughts and the ways in which they effect his life. It was touching and ironic, sad and fufilling in many ways. Mark Haddon hits the mark, in my mind with this novel. A great read.
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Megan A, May 3, 2010 (view all comments by Megan A)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, is an inspirational and heartwarming novel about a young autistic boy’s journey of discovery. The book is centered around the mysterious murder of the neighbor’s dog, Wellington. As the narrator, Christopher Boone, uncovers the murderer, he also learns about some hidden family secrets and finds the strength to venture into an unknown place alone. The novel comments on disability and Christopher’s struggle to express human emotions, while highlighting the misperceptions many people have about disabilities. Mark Haddon effectively captures society’s misperceptions about disabilities through his use of an autistic narrator and unique structural and stylistic elements. The story of Christopher Boone will inspire and challenge the readers to alter their ideas about disabilities.
The novel is a national bestseller, Whitbread Book of the Year, and New York Times Notable Book. The author, Mark Haddon is an author and illustrator of many notable children’s books and screen plays. He has also worked with autistic individuals in the past, giving him inspiration for this novel. The novel is set in Swindon and London, England in the late 1990’s with the narrator being determined fifteen year old Christopher Boone, an autistic boy. Christopher is an extremely intelligent boy but cannot understand or express human emotions. “I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them” (12). Christopher lives with his father, Ed Boone in Swindon, England. The novel begins with the death of the neighbor’s dog, Wellington. Christopher is writing a mystery novel about Wellington’s murder for school and wants to figure out who killed the dog. After initially being accused, Christopher digs further into his investigation, uncovering some hidden secrets about his family. As a result, his world of stability and order starts to break down. The events in the novel help to expose the unique talents of Christopher and the way his autistic mind functions.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time successfully achieves its goal of commenting on the misperceptions about disabilities through its point of view, structure, and writing style. The point of view of an autistic narrator helps the author shed a new light on disability. Seeing events from an autistic boy’s perspective allows the reader to better understand the thought processes of people with disabilities. It allows one to see an entirely different point of view, making the book more creative and unique. This point of view also accentuates the unique skills of Christopher, focusing on the positive side of disabilities, rather than the negative. For example, Christopher’s math and science knowledge astounded me. He knows more about astronomy and mathematics than most other people. “Some people think the Milky Way is a long line of stars, but it isn’t. Our galaxy is a huge disk of stars millions of light-years across, and the solar system is somewhere near the outside edge of the disk” (9). Christopher’s immense knowledge suggests that there is more to disabilities; people have the wrong ideas about those with disabilities. In addition, the author did an incredible job of creating the actions and thoughts of an autistic boy; it was as if the novel was actually written by an autistic person. While the point of view helps effectively display the autistic mind, the structure of the novel contributes as well.
The author’s structural choices reveal the realistic thought processes of a child with autism and add creativity and intrigue to the novel. The fact that prime numbers are used to divide the sections of the novel, instead of chapters, mirrors the actions of an autistic person. In addition, drawings, diagrams, and pictures are not typically seen in novels. These objects help convey how the autistic mind works and really put life into perspective for me as I was reading. The pictures helped me to understand that this is how Christopher’s mind works through and understands ideas. I felt as if I was being directly addressed by Christopher. The disorderly pattern of events where Christopher would quickly change topics makes the novel more realistic and convincing. It allows you to see that this is “normal” for him and helps you to better appreciate disabilities for their uniqueness, rather than for their negative features. The fact that the book ends in a positive and uplifting light adds to the idea that believe in oneself can produce countless achievements. “And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? And I found my mother and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything” (221). Christopher’s undying determination and confidence in his abilities shows that disabilities are not crippling; people with disabilities may be different but not in a negative way. Disabilities are unique and each person has different gifts as a result of their impairments. These structural elements highlight Christopher’s individuality and amaze the reader with the incredible talents and skills of people with autism. Along with the structure, Haddon’s stylistic elements make a statement about people’s unfortunate misperceptions about disabilities.
Mark Haddon’s writing style creates a convincing picture of the autistic mind and highlights the novel’s central idea. The language used depicts the thoughts and speech of a typical autistic boy. It also mirrors Christopher’s trouble expressing his emotions, as he tends to talk in long run-on sentences to make his point. “But if I say that I actually had Shreddies and a mug of tea I start thinking about Coco Pops and lemonade and porridge and Dr Pepper and how I wasn’t eating my breakfast in Egypt and there wasn’t a rhinoceros in the room and Father wasn’t wearing a diving suit and so on and even writing this makes me feel shaky and scared…” (19). The style and language choices are impeccably realistic. As I was reading I was amazed by the way Haddon formed sentences and ideas together in such a close manner to that of an autistic individual. In addition, Christopher’s vivid and detailed descriptions of his surroundings accentuate the positive side of disabilities. “And then lost of people started coming into the little station. And someone sat down on the other end of the bench and it was a lady who had a black briefcase and purple shoes and a brooch shaped like a parrot” (175). He notices details that the average person would not normally see. This explains that people with disabilities all have their own unique and uplifting talents; people just tend to make the wrong assumptions about disabilities.
In The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon effectively crafts the mind of an autistic boy and comments on the misperceptions people have about disabilities. The novel addresses all of the major issues with the inclusion of mystery, adventure, family dynamics, human emotions, and society’s misperceptions. I would highly recommend this book to other adult readers as it is a motivational story that can change the way people look at disabilities. The ideas, characterization, and style perfectly and successfully depict disability in its most positive form.
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hickcrazy1, January 17, 2010 (view all comments by hickcrazy1)
This debut novel is a completely different piece of work. Its protagonist, an autistic 9 year boy whi is a math prodigy, is incapable of feeling emotion. His reactions to events are so completely his own, so matter of fact and bloodless as to be unnatural; compared with normal kids, he is an enigma. The book held me totally in thrall, none of my conclusions or predictions held true. I heartily recommend this book to the reader looking for a novel that offers a very different point of view.
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Used Trade Paper
0 stars -
Vintage Books USA -
An autistic math genius sets out to solve the murder-by-pitchfork of a neighbor's dog. The narrator's autism gives a terrific, interesting depth to his voice. Incredibly well done, Mark Haddon's debut novel is sweet, original, and moving.
by Publishers Weekly,
"Though Christopher insists, 'This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them,' the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice."
by The New Yorker,
"This original and affecting novel is a triumph of empathy; whether describing Christopher's favorite dream...or his vision of the universe collapsing in a thunder or stars, the author makes his hero's severely limited world a thrilling place to be."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"[A] bittersweet tale....A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash."
by The Times (London),
"For Haddon to have created such a superbly realized autistic world-view is, in itself, remarkable. Brilliantly inventive, full of dazzling set-pieces, unbearbly sad, yet also skilfully dodging any encounters with sentimentality, this isn't simply the most original novel I've read in years...it's also one of the best."
by Jay McInerney, The New York Times Book Review,
"[S]tark, funny and original....[I]t eschews most of the furnishings of high-literary enterprise as well as the conventions of genre, disorienting and reorienting the reader to devastating effect."
by Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times,
"Moving....Think of The Sound and the Fury crossed with The Catcher in the Rye and one of Oliver Sacks's real-life stories."
"Superb....Bits of wisdom fairly leap off the page."
"Narrated by the unusual and endearing Christopher, who alternates between analyzing mathematical equations and astronomy and contemplating the deaths of Wellington and his mother, the novel is both fresh and inventive."
by David Newnham, T.E.S.,
"A stroke of genius, as the advantages of having a naive, literal-minded boy in the driving seat are manifold... we do learn what it might feel like to have Asperger's Syndrome."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash."
by Ian McEwan, author of Atonement and Amsterdam,
"Mark Haddon's portrayal of an emotionally dissociated mind is a superb achievement. He is a wise and bleakly funny writer with rare gifts of empathy."
by Arthur Golden, author of Memoirs of a Geisha,
"I have never read anything quite like Mark Haddon's funny and agonizingly honest book, or encountered a narrator more vivid and memorable. I advise you to buy two copies; you won't want to lend yours out."
by Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season,
"The Curious Incident brims with imagination, empathy, and vision — plus it's a lot of fun to read."
by Oliver Sacks, author of Awakenings,
"Brilliant....Delightful....Very moving, very plausible — and very funny."
by The Washington Post Book World,
"In this striking first novel, Mark Haddon is both clever and observant, and the effect is vastly affecting."
by Kate Kellaway, The Observer,
"The book gave me that rare, greedy feeling of: this is so good I want to read it all at once but I mustn't or it will be over too soon"
by Entertainment Weekly,
"Haddon's book illuminates the way one mind works so precisely, so humanely, that it reads like both an acutely observed case study and an artful exploration of...the thoughts and feelings we share even with those very different from us. (Grade: A)"
by Library Journal,
"The novel is being marketed to a YA audience, but strong language and adult situations make this a good title for sophisticated readers of all ages. Highly recommended."
"One of the strangest and most convincing characters in recent fiction."
Narrated by a 15-year-old autistic savant obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, this dazzling novel weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and a fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions.
by Random House,
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.
SOLVING CRIME, ONE FACIAL EXPRESSION AT A TIME
Colin Fischer cannot stand to be touched. He does not like the color blue. He needs index cards to recognize facial expressions.
But when a gun is found in the school cafeteria, interrupting a female classmate's birthday celebration, Colin is the only for the investigation. It's up to him to prove that Wayne Connelly, the school bully and Colin's frequent tormenter, didn't bring the gun to school. After all, Wayne didn't have frosting on his hands, and there was white chocolate frosting found on the grip of the smoking gun...
Colin Fischer is a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, and his story--as told by the screenwriters of X-Men: First Class and Thor--is perfect for readers who have graduated from Encyclopedia Brown and who are ready to consider the greatest mystery of all: what other people are thinking and feeling.
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