Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Have You Read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"?

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have you read this book?  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon has been out for a while now but I somehow missed it. A friend that taught for many years gave it to me...it was a Tuesday* gift so it was especially precious to me. She told me that I was one of the few people she knew that would like and understand what it was all about. I took that as a complement.

See, this book is about a very unusual child that attends a school for children with special needs. His name is Christopher John Francis Boone and if he were a real person he would tell you that he knows all the countries in the world (and their capitals) and all the prime numbers up to 7507.  His personality has very sharp edges with likes and dislikes that rule his life. He will not be touched by anyone, not even his parents, he screams when he is afraid or in a place with too many people and he does not like the colors yellow and brown. I don't remember why the yellow but I do know that he didn't like brown because it was the color of poop. And there you have the essence of the whole book...quirky funny sad and frightening in it's complicated simplicity.

The story revolves around the untimely death of the neighbors dog by stabbing and Christopher's need to write a story. He sets out to solve the mystery of the dead dog while documenting the journey that quest takes him on.

As I read the book I began to see that looking out of Christopher's eyes must not have been easy. He does now see shades of gray and for him, true is true and a lie is a lie. He is very hard to live with for that very reason. He just does not understand the nuances of life.
People say that you always have to tell the truth. But they do not mean this because you are not allowed to tell old people that they are old and you are not allowed to tell people if they smell funny or if a grown-up has made a fart. And you are not allowed to say, "I don't like you," unless that person has been horrible to you.
If you have ever been in the classroom for very long, you have know children that didn't fit any description. They were who they were. Teachers that couldn't embrace the difference were and are in for a very long and hard time in a career that requires them to teach the child not what they want the child to be.

I think I loved the quote from the book about life comparing it to prime numbers.
Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them. 
I cannot imagine anyone not loving the humor and beautiful words in The Curious Incident.... The old saying "Out of the mouths of babe" came to mind as I followed Christopher on his journey to find a way to live in a world he truly didn't understand. In the end, I had the feeling that this type of person is the one we need. The giant intellect that hides behind the unusual personality will take us to great places.

Did Mark Haddon know someone like this or is he himself part of this character? I could look it up I suppose but, in the end, I would rather not know. He has done such a beautiful job of capturing the child without damaging the image of anyone that lives in that world. I think he has given a gift to us all.

Have a wonderful day.


*Tuesday gifts are those given for no reason at all. They are a lovely way of telling someone you know that you are thinking of them.


  1. I read the book a couple of years ago and loved it. How Christopher made his way to London, especially, was just so enjoyable - and authentic. I have a brother in law who is developmentally disabled. I've had some peeks into the life of people who are "different", who don't quite "fit in" but have talents and something to contribute to our society.

    1. I remember back in the day when all of the labels we use today did not exist. I don't think that a gift of great mathematical genius would have been put to use then. I do know that children were sent away to state homes using the thinking that the parents could not bear the burden. They certainly were not sent to school. I loved this book for it's flow of life that took the character from one situation to another without looking back. What is, is.

  2. As I understand it, Haddon works with kids on the autism spectrum and that is Christopher's "disablility." This book is amazingly awesome. I particularly loved the part when he describes what it's like when he looks at a field of cows, and he got them all sorted and counted. You can just imagine how incredibly overloading it is when he's faced with a lot of visual information at one time. I sometimes feel that way about sound. Loved this book. Hm. Will have to buy it and re-read it now.

    1. Anne, That is why I have the Amazon Link for The Book in This Post!!!

      Thank you for information. I loved reading the book without that information though. It was just an incredible journey. Good on Haddon for giving the reader a glimpse into what it is like to be autistic. In the end, the autistic are truly awesome humans.

      Be well.


  3. B and I both read it a few years ago -- unique perspective, believable characters, great book. I think they made a movie of it as well, but we didn't get to see it -- I think it was a limited run.

  4. Don't you love it when people you know recommend a good book? I miss things because I am involved with other genres.

  5. I LOVED The Curious Incident... To the extent that I bought his next few books as soon as they came out. So far they haven't (for me) matched The Curious Incident - which has joined my list of books to read and reread...

    1. I have the copy and will share it but in the end I want it back and by my bedside. Thank you for the visit.


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