The curious incident of the dog

aka. The curious incident of the dog in the night time

"Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk. "

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a mystery novel written by Mark Haddon in 2003. The hero of the novel has Asperger's syndrome and you'd think this is a huge obstacle to storytelling. Instead it won the Whitbread book of the year award alongside with many others, one of them being the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.

PLOT

Main character and also the narrator is Christopher Boone. He is a fifteen year old living with his parents and his pet rat. All of this seems pretty much normal, but Christopher is not an ordinary teenager. He knows all the countries of the world and their capital cities, loves order, routine and truth, and considering the fact that he knows ever prime number up to 7,507 we could comfortably say that math is his best friend. He deeply despises colours brown and yellow and he has Asperger's Syndrome.

When neighbour's dog is stabbed with a garden fork, he leaves his fears aside and sets himself on an adventure, that won't only bring answers about the murderer. The author of the book first goes back in the past where Christopher learns that his mother died because of heart attack. Later, after his dad picks him at the police station the night that the dog was killed, he is forbidden to investigate the murder further on. But along the way of not respecting the rule, he finds out that his mother is not dead. She is very much alive but as she had an affair and left to live with her lover, his dad "declared" her dead. The fact that he lied to him and hid his mum's letters is by all means a great deal for Christopher and after his dad confesses that he is the one who has killed the dog, Christopher runs away from home to his mum, who is now living in London. On his way there he goes through a lot of stress as he doesn't like crammed places and people touching him. To his devastation he returns home with his mother and they later find a place to live on their own. In the meantime Christopher sits a Maths

A level exam and gets an A grade, slowly starts to spend more time with his dad and

receives a Golden Retriever from his dad as a token of gratitude.

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CHARACTERS

The most astonishing of them all is definitely Christopher. I have already talked about his interests and dislikes but the thing that stands out the most is his view of the world that is totally different to the one that a reader experiences every day. At first sight we could simply think that he hasn't had enough contact with people and this is why he a) doesn't think nor behave the same way and b) finds other people so hard to understand. You could also see him as a robot with no feelings for other people and no sense of humour. He has learnt all of his social skills in school and

school was also the place where he has learnt how other people normally think and what behaviour is "normal" and that people don't mean or understand everything literally. This is where his teacher Shiobhan did a very good job. I think she is the one person whose company Christopher enjoys the most. She understands him very well, so she is able to show him techniques that calm him down in unpleasant situations.

In the book Christopher describes what he is thinking and how he understands the world. He offers us a whole new perspective of seeing things. His world is a world of logic and I loved that. He explains every single detail that is mentioned in the book. Literally everything has its cause and its consequences. It looks like as if he is from another planet and when he comes to Earth everything is new and different to him.

There is also his father, who really tries to do the best he can. He loves his son very much but sometimes he gets it wrong and goes too far in the wrong direction. He would do anything for his son but again, he is not perfect.

For his mother, I think that she is just scared. Scared because she doesn't understand Christopher at all and it doesn't seem that she has ever tired very hard to do so. She

obviously didn't expect that something as Asperger's Syndrome could "happen" to her family. But this would be a huge blow for anyone and she is doing her best trying to be a good mum.

MARK HADDON (THE AUTHOR):

  • is 53 years old - born on 26 September 1962 in Northampton, England.
  • studied English at Merton College, Oxford.
  • worked as an illustrator for several different magazines and newspapers (about the studio in his house he said that it looked like a primary school library).
  • wrote his first children's book at the age of 25. The book was followed by many other children's books which were often self-illustrated.
  • has written 20 literary works for children, 3 for adults and he has also written one collection of poems
  • is vegetarian
  • likes to marathon kayak when he isn’t writing.
  • his wife also studied at Oxford (they have two sons and they all live in Oxford).


Mark Haddon really does seem like a cool guy. Here you can see why: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/apr/27/fiction.guardianchildrensfictionprize2003

INTERESTING FACTS

  1. Title quotes detective Sherlock Holmes in short story Silver Blaze.
  2. There is also a very successful play of the same name adapted from the novel.
  3. Mark Haddon says that he slightly regrets the fact that the word "Asperger's syndrome" was used on the cover as he points out that this is not a book about Asperger's syndrome.
  4. There are also loads of twitter accounts that post different contents regarding the book.
  5. The Curious Incident of the dog in the night-time was Mark's first book intentionally written for adults, but his publisher suggested marketing it to both children and adult audiences.
  6. Jane Austen’s writing style has had the most effect on Mark Haddon.
  7. Haddon got the idea for the book from an image of a dead poodle with a gardening tool sticking out of it that randomly popped into his head.

ASPERGER'S SYNDROME

Asperger's syndrome is a disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. The exact cause of Asperger's is unknown: there is no known genetic cause and up until now, they have not discovered any clear mistakes in brain activity. There is no single treatment, although the most common is behavioral therapy with focus points being set on poor communication skills, obsessive and/or repetitive routines and physical clumsiness. Globally Asperger's is estimated to affect 31 million people and there are some researches that show different opinions regarding this matter: some suggest that this is not a disease that must be cured as people with Asperger's syndrome only have a different view of the world.

There is also a film adaption of the book in the making. Brat Pitt is the producer while Steve Kloves (he wrote Harry Potter films) is directing and writing.


Here you can see the official trailer for the play The curious incident of the dog in the nigh-time:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Official Trailer

QUESTIONARY