Monday, September 11, 2006


Fiction / Genre: Mainstream

Alice Kendall reviews THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Mark Haddon (Doubleday, 2003):

Mark Haddon has written a very unique, award-winning story. The “curious incident” and its aftermath are seen through the eyes of an autistic young man. From the first few paragraphs, the reader is drawn into the world of those who do not function well in normal society. We not only see how they act, but understand why they act so inappropriately from a “normal” viewpoint.

It all starts with the murder of the neighbor’s dog. Young Christopher decides to find out who killed the dog and, along the way, discovers the truth about his family. While the reality of the story is very interesting to us, its effect (or lack, thereof) on Christopher is the real story. Haddon’s experience in working with autistic persons gives him the ability to show us what these people experience everyday. Christopher’s interaction with his teachers and neighbors, his reactions to those he doesn’t know, his courage in facing a world that is totally alien to him; all of this is treated both artistically and truthfully. It is a truly remarkable work that offers a real insight without becoming sentimental or preachy. It is straight forward, unemotional and altogether engrossing. (And, for the mathematically inclined, the solution to the math problem is given in the appendix.)

Alice Kendall, Parkway Village Branch Library

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Loved this book. Unlike most stories, this book follows very unconventional norms, as the narrator and protagonist is an autistic child. I would recommend this to anyone who is in contact with anyone who is autistic or if you are looking for a quick, entertaining read.
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