[RGC 53.] The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

[read: finished it in one night-time]


» Must haves: a little British spirit, preferably a map of the London Underground [read: tube] to map out his path. I read it at Cambridge and had to relive it in the big British city. » Pairs well with: Twinings tea from the original Twinings. Maybe Irish Breakfast so it’s not ~too~ British. Be rebellious. 

I’ll start here for The Rory Gilmore Challenge {RGC} because it’s the one I’ve most recently reread and I have a relatively mediocre memory so it’s for the better that I go in this order. Also, there may be spoilers in these reviews (please please please still read the book!).

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time featured one of the most compelling voices to be read in all of literature, easily. The book is filled with puzzles (I love puzzles) like:

  • Why are the chapters so strangely numbered?
  • I like yellow, so why doesn’t Christopher like yellow? It is the color of sunshine, our source of warmth. I do not comprehend… yet.
  • Who would kill a dog like that?
  • Why can’t everyone be like Siobhan?
  • When can I move to London?

My answer to those questions is just read the book and try to solve these puzzles like Christopher does. Well, except for the London one because I don’t know and you won’t know and Christopher doesn’t know so we’ll figure it out together.

You get the insight that Haddon presents so strongly through Christopher’s narration, affected with what I read as Asperger syndrome or autism, that is relatable for any reader. Christopher has fears and anxieties but also unparalleled strengths and determination (to take his A-levels, no easy feat!) and all of these aspects of the human condition can be appreciated. I get why Rory liked this book so much because it speaks to a genre that began to emerge at the time (I believe Jonathan Safran Foer also writes in a similar manner, but more on that to come via RGC) and pulls you in when you don’t think it will.

I tend to read with affect and at first it was difficult for me to fathom the scientific way in which Christopher analyses his surroundings and investigates the murder mystery. Even how he perceives love. That perception is striking and stunning and guides the reader to a new understanding of a world that many don’t understand and won’t understand, but in a way this book tries to grasp some of it. And I think it succeeds in taking the first step into Christopher’s world. Especially with the transition of learning about his family and coping with everything changing around him — kids experience that every day and Haddon showed us a normal life that has its extraordinary moments.

There is a realm of maturity and understanding there that Haddon taps into, by which the general public is at least intrigued. And so, I would say if you want to learn more about yourself, other people and all of these perceptions together through the voice of a young boy with his own struggles and journey to London, pick up this book. I couldn’t put it down.

*Note: attempting to attend a showing of the version of this play for theatre that a professor here at Pembroke College recommended in London. Will talk about it later if I make it, will complain about not going if not. Either way, stay tuned.

10 out of 10 would recommend.

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