11.  ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ by Mark Haddon

Not a book I would normally have taken a second look at, but after meeting the author, Mark Haddon, recently and hearing him talk about this and his ‘Polar Bears‘ play, I was intrigued to read it and find out more. 

Written from the perspective of a 15 year old boy who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties”, we enter Christopher’s world of noise, contact, complex maths, and difficult family relationships. For me it was probably the first time I’d considered what, and how, autistic people deal with objects and events the rest of us don’t necessarily realise will cause discomfort. 

From the start it’s clear there is something more to the story of Christopher and his fathers relationship, which I won’t spoil for you, but the story is well crafted and we are carefully led by Christopher through his discovery of just what happened to his neighbours dog. From the start of the story, the murder of a neighbours dog, Christopher wants to find out who did such a terrible thing,p and starts the investigation which ends up with him finding out more about his own history and himself: for someone who requires such regular events and behaviour in order to function, he takes off in to the outside, unknown world.

Mark beautifully brings Chistopher’s world to life, with such simplicity in how he views complex and difficult interactions. But it is through Christopher’s narration and explanation of his reasoning I feel like I’ve been given a rare opportunity to glimpse into an otherwise forbidden world. The way Christopher explains why a Super Good Day can only be defined by seeing five red cars in a row when going to school on the bus, or four yellow cars is a Black Day, “which is a day when I don’t speak to anyone and don’t eat my lunch and Take No Risks”.

I felt the story ended sooner than the book actually did. We find out what happened to the dog, we find out more about him and his fathers back story. Once we find out about the dog, that was a natural end of the book. It was nice to have a little more to go on, to find out what happened to Christopher after his investigation turned up so much more than he thought he’d find, and how well he did in his A-level. 

In this world of sequels or prequels in blockbuster films, and the fact I like reading books that are part of a series, I would love to know how Christopher gets on five, ten, or twenty years down the line. Does he get to University as he plans? How does he cope with the transition from youth & education to adulthood & work? 

Scores:
Held my interest: 8/10
Captured my imagination: 9/10
Worth reading: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

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