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

"Sengaging story of an autistic teenage boy in deceptively simple prose"


Christopher Boone hates the colors yellow and brown. He lives with his father, and tells us that his mother died of heart problems years ago. He can calculate the number two up to the forty-fifth power in his head. He loves Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books. And he is the highly intelligent, autistic narrator of Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Nighttime. Using deceptively simple prose, he tells us a story of love, betrayal, and family.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime opens, sensibly, with an incident involving a dog in the nighttime. Christopher, as he tells us in his book, finds a dead dog pierced through with a garden fork while he is walking through his small English town. The dog, Wellington, belongs to his neighbor Ms. Shears, and despite the fact that she knows Christopher and his father well, she is less than pleased to find him holding her dead pet. She calls the police, and because of his communication problems, Christopher is soon being held in jail. We are introduced to Christopher’s father when he barrels into the police station to take Christopher home, obviously frustrated with having his son arrested. Although Christopher is determined to find the dog’s killer, his father forbids him from pursuing it and meddling in other peoples’ business.

Throughout the book, Christopher states unusual facts about himself, including his aversion to being touched, his photographic memory, and his inability to lie. Despite the fact that Christopher can’t lie to his father, his passion for finding Wellington’s killer drives him to find ways to break his father’s rule. His search for this “murderer” leads him to changes and revelations that neither Christopher nor the reader expects.

I loved this novel because it was engaging, well-written, and narrated in an unusual way. The novel pulls you in and makes you just as curious as Christopher to know who killed Wellington; the answer is by no means the only surprise in the story. In fact, Mark Haddon’s wildly successful first novel earned him both the Whitbread Book Of The Year Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Overall Best First Book Award. By using an autistic teenage boy as the protagonist, Haddon lets us see things through a fascinating new perspective while also showing the difficulty of caring for an autistic child. Because Haddon worked with autistic individuals as a young man, he is able to realistically depict the condition.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime. It grabs your interest from the first page and immerses you in a remarkable story while still managing to seem, for the most part, realistic. Despite the fact that his writing style can seem detached and even cold, it’s surprisingly easy to identify with Christopher. I found myself alternating between sympathy, empathy, and exasperation at his thoughts and experiences. Although I felt like this book would appeal mostly to a teen or young adult audience, I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the condition of autism or wants an interesting, quick read.

   - Heidi S.



"sympathy, anger, joy, sadness, love, hate, revenge, curiosity - this book has it all."


I have never read a book like this before. Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time dives deep into the facets of autism. If you have ever wondered what it was like to be autistic, this book reveals everything. Haddon’s book, however, is so much more than this. It is a quest for truth, love, and life. The journey through this novel is exciting and quick; however, it is well written and subtly presents the reader with many important ideas.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is told from the perspective of an autistic 15 year old boy named Christopher John Francis Boone. Although he is autistic, Christopher is very smart. He knows all the prime numbers up to 7,057 as well as all the countries of the world and their capitals. Since he is autistic, he cannot understand human emotion and thus this conflict is resonated throughout the enter novel.The story begins when Christopher finds the neighborhood dog,Wellington dead and pledges to investigate the mysterious murder. His quest becomes the catalyst for the novel and leads Christopher to more truths than just who killed Wellington.

In this novel, Haddon forces the reader through almost every type of emotion. Sympathy, anger, joy, sadness, love, hate, revenge, and curiosity are just a few that the reader will experience by coming in contact with Christopher’s life. The story shows true human life through Christopher’s relations with his father, teacher, and everyday people. Haddon’s style is easy to read; "Father banged the table with his fist really hard so that the plates and his knife and fork jumped around and my ham jumped sideways so that it touched the broccoli, so I couldn’t eat the ham or the broccoli anymore." However it reflects the autistic mind of Christopher, so at times it becomes a little fuzzy. Through this style Haddon draws the reader further and further into the world of Christopher.

For me, this book gave me a greater sympathy for autistic people. Christopher is so helpless and yet so bright, and his paradoxical character makes you want to help him in anyway you can. I think this is important because Haddon has clearly taken a stand to help autistic people and this novel reveals their thoughts and emotions. It also reveals how to help autistic people in ways that are truly beneficial. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read. Its just good!

   - Will R.



"Imagine a world where you feel no emotion and you can't touch anyone."


Imagine a world where you feel no emotion, your day is decided by the color of cars, you do not touch anyone, and you constantly fear the colors yellow and brown. These are only some of the peculiarities of fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Christopher has Asperger's Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism, and suffers on a daily basis because he cannot understand simple human emotions and behavior.

At first Christopher’s behavior is puzzling because autism is foreign to most people. As the novel develops, the reader becomes used to Christopher’s uniqueness and it becomes easier to follow. The reader finds himself learning random facts about Christopher, oceans, math, and space. Christopher is a genius when it comes to math and science, but does not have a clue when people are involved. Christopher is deathly afraid of strangers; he doesn't trust anyone he does not know. At times these characteristics become frustrating, but it puts the reader in Christopher’s shoes.

Haddon brings the reader on a journey full of pity, sadness, happiness, frustration, and empathy as he pulls the reader into Christopher’s mind. The chapters are numbered by prime numbers and every few pages there are pictures or diagrams showing a topic or a description that Christopher cannot convey. Math plays a huge part in this novel since that is one of Christopher’s fortes. Christopher uses math to explain almost everything, and the equations are complex, showing how smart Christopher is. Haddon keeps the reader hooked the whole time. However, for some the book may be hard to read because of the writing style. Haddon almost brings the reader to feel like he, himself is suffering just like Christopher.

At times Christopher’s behavior gets annoying because of his lack of common sense and his irrational fears. He has a hard time going to the bathroom in public places and this makes for trouble. He hates being touched and will hit anyone who touches him. He will not eat anything brown or yellow. He also cannot lie. Peculiarities like this may make the book a little hard to read at times, but it also makes the book fun. All in all, it gives the reader a great understanding of the hardships and frustration involved with Asperger's kids.

   - Danielle L.



"Small pictures give readers a look inside the mind of Christopher."


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a hilarious novel written by Mark Haddon. Christopher John Francis Boone, an autistic fifteen-year-old boy, narrates this story as though he is writing it. Christopher is socially awkward and screams when he is touched. When he gets confused, he works math problems and groans to try to block out the rest of the world. Christopher detests the color yellow and but loves the color red. He will not eat or touch anything that is yellow while all of his favorite foods are red or have been dyed red with food coloring.

Christopher  opens the story by describing the murder of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington. After being blamed for the crime, Christopher decides that he wants to be a detective, like his hero Sherlock Holmes, and find out who really killed Wellington. His father angrily forbids him from investigating this case. He later unlocks the secret to his mother’s mysterious death. Confused about everything he knows and has been told, he goes on an unaccompanied journey in hopes of finding what he is looking for. After his journey, Christopher says, “ I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery of Who Killed Wellington? and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything.

Mark Haddon uses simple and almost child-like words throughout the novel, making it an easy read. He draws small pictures that give readers a better look inside the mind of Christopher.  This book is a great, but fast read. I would strongly recommend it to those who love to read, those who hate to read, adults, and teenagers of all ages.

At times Christopher’s behavior gets annoying because of his lack of common sense and his irrational fears. He has a hard time going to the bathroom in public places and this makes for trouble. He hates being touched and will hit anyone who touches him. He will not eat anything brown or yellow. He also cannot lie. Peculiarities like this may make the book a little hard to read at times, but it also makes the book fun. All in all, it gives the reader a great understanding of the hardships and frustration involved with Asperger's kids.

   - Abby Grace B.