Summer Reading Project

By Joe Castagnaro, 9th period, Mr.birnbaum

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

This novel is a fictional story narrated by a young 15 year old boy who goes by the name of Christopher John Francis Boone. The majority of the story takes place in Swindon, England. The story focuses mainly on the journey and obstacles that Christopher endures as he attempts to solve the mystery as to who murdered his neighbor Mrs. Shears' pet poodle, Willington. The story being told is actually being read in the perspective of Christopher, as he uses the book to record his experiences through out the novel. Though originally attempting to unfold the events leading to the murder of his neighbors dog, Christopher shortly realizes that there is more to the situation then he originally concurred. Despite multiple warnings from his father Christopher conducts a series of interviews on his neighbors. These interviews reveal information that leads to Christopher discovering his father was having an affair with Mrs. Shears, but only after Mr. Shears and Christopher's mother, Judy, allegedly had an affair also. Once Ed, Christopher's father discovered Chris's work in project, he confiscated it. this further led to the discovery of letters that Christopher never received though sent to him by his mother. All 43 letters were confiscated by Ed in an attempt to shield Christopher with the details of his mothers sudden disappearance. When Ed discovers Christopher passed out in his room surrounded by the letters, he instantly breaks down, apologizing for keeping his mothers location and well being from him for the past couple of years. this incident damages the relationship between Christopher and his father, and Ed then realizes he must make up for what he has done and regain his sons trust. No longer trusting his father, Christopher escapes to his mothers house in London where she carried on her life with Mr. Shears. Once he arrives in London, his mother is not olny shocked to see him but is also shocked at the news that Ed had been keeping the letters from Christopher the entire time. Christopher's presence in London quickly leads to his mother leaving Mr. Shears and returning to Swindon, where Ed visits his son frequently. Christopher studies for his exams in mathematics and physics, and a by this time in the novel is confident enough in himself due not only his experiences but the personal goals he was able to overcome.

Character Analysis

The main character is this work is Christopher John Francis Boone. Christopher is faced with multiple conflicts through out the novel, some of which stemming from his initial conflict of battling a slight case of Autism. Christopher's unique case has granted him the ability to be superior in the fields of math and science and to have a keen memory, though he is crippled socially as he cannot communicate and understand others easily due to his inability to comprehend simple things such as sarcasm and reading the facial expressions of others. Due to this, Christopher has sheltered himself from a majority of the people in his life, including his father. He has few friends, and is not upset with being alone or even with the idea of being one of the only people on Earth, which he dreams about frequently.

Theme and Setting

The Setting of this book is Europe during the year 1998. Though the majority of the story takes place in Swindon, England a large portion of the book includes Christopher's journey to London to visit his mother after many years.

The Theme of this novel can be perceived in multiple ways, one being that though you are faced with difficult challenges, these challenges should not define who you are as a person. What defines you is your ability to overcome such challenges and succeed despite the obstacles you have faced. The theme is used to further develop the story by showing a character that faces issues in everyday life, yet is able to achieve his ultimate goals through learning and through experience.


In conclusion, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is a moving novel, showing how one can overcome their situation by working through their issues to ultimately learn from the experience and emerge from it a stronger person. I would recommend this book to others because I feel that the reader can take Christopher's experiences in the novel and use them in order to further understand others issues and to help us conquer our own.