The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

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This is the first book by Mark Haddon and it is a very quick read. The story of Christopher Boone, an autistic young man with an extraordinary ability and affinity for "maths," follows the young man as he attempts to investigate the killing of a neighbor's dog. The book is his narrative of that investigation and its fall out.

Not being autistic myself, nor having much personal experience with autistic persons, I cannot speak to the authenticity of the narrative. However, it seemed quite authentic. Told in the first person, I got a sense of what the world of the autistic person must be like.

The story also traces the trials and tribulations of the family that must care for the autistic person. At times it is heartbreaking and aggravating. You can understand the mother who is pushed to the snapping point because she can't even go to the store to pick up groceries or clothing. You get a glimpse of the pressures that might cause a marriage to dissolve.

In a sense the novel is an instruction in empathy, a help to understanding, a guide to comprehending and trying to embrace difference--even very difficult difference.

Well told, fast read--not literature for the ages, but a remarkable glimpse into an extraordinary parallel world. Highly recommended for adults.

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I'm not sure what to think about this book. The first person autistic narrator gimmick [stet] was extremely effective, though like you I can't say how well the author represented the actual experiences of people like Chris. But I can't tell how much there is to the novel other than the novelty.

It reminds me of The Caveman's Valentine and Smilla's Sense of Snow; in both the story shoots out of the gate powered by the uniqueness of the narrator (street lunatic and Inuit Greenlander, respectively), but towards the end it runs out of steam.

I just read the first two thirds of this book this evening, and I have to say I am gripped so far.

Dear Erik,

I'm pleased and perhaps a little surprised. But then you are ever full of surprises (in a good way). Thanks for the ntoe.



I just read this book the other day and liked it very much. I thought it had interesting things to say about religion and the limitations of logical thought as well as autism and the difficulties of dealing with a handicapped child.

I just finished the book. Outstanding read. I highly recommend it. It could provide some great food for discussion.

Whether or not it merits a rereading, I am sure.


We read this book last year in my book group. I thought it was fascinating. And I don't really think Mr. Haddon intended for it to be "literature for the ages"--but to give us a look inside another reality--the head of an autistic person.

Before our meeting, I read the extensive customer reviews on Amazon, looking to see whether folks with autistic children felt like it was realistic.

Almost to a person, the parents gave it major thumbs up--because it told quite clearly about the challenges they are facing every day.

The interesting thing, though, was that a number of autistic people responded--some quite positively, other quite negatively. But the negative comments were almost entirely, "That's not what *I'm* like." I think in many ways that is to be expected, because some autistic teens are unable to *generalize* out of the *very specific* world they live in.

Few books have put me inside someone else's head as effectively as this short book did for a little while.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 21, 2006 9:35 AM.

Compassion--"They are like sheep without a shepherd." was the previous entry in this blog.

Knowing Christ Jesus is the next entry in this blog.

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