The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Nighttime is a realistic fiction book by Mark Haddon, telling the story of autistic teenager Christopher, who, after finding his neighbor’s dog stabbed with a garden fork, decides to emulate his fictional hero Sherlock Holmes by searching for the murderer. Christopher’s father disapproves of him investigating the case, and what was a simple mystery about a dead dog leads to discoveries about his family, neighbors, and his own place in the world.
The major strength of this book is the unique voice of the main character. Christopher is a mathematical prodigy, but is distressed by loud noises and struggles to understand the emotions of others. His narration is often frustrating to the reader, such as when he breaks off from the plot to explain a math concept or his system of counting different colored cars, but he is also very sympathetic as a character often frightened and confused by his irrational surroundings. Christopher dislikes metaphors and jokes because of their inconsistent multiple meanings, but his literal-mindedness leads to some witty observations about the irrationality of social norms. Though the book takes place in modern London, from Christopher’s perspective it becomes a different world full of distractions and absurd rules.
I would recommend this book to anyone 14+ (for language and thematic elements) who enjoys mysteries and unusual narration.
-Miranda C., 12th grade