The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is a novel told in the first person. That changes how we as the reader get information and how we can use that information as the book progresses, making our experience different than most novels. Keep reading for a summary of the novel and why you should make this your next read!
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Summary
The narrator of the book is Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy who experiences the world differently than everyone else around him. He is awkward and smart and his thought process is how we experience the novel.
When Christopher discovers the neighbor’s dog dead, he decides to solve it no matter what. But he doesn’t like to be touched and retaliates when he is touched. Christopher is also frightened easily. His narration and the reader’s experience are different because he doesn’t perceive the information provided as the reader does.
The mystery/adventure forces Christopher to venture out of his comfort zone and come face to face with other people. But when Christopher discovers things about his mother, he realizes that there is a lot hidden from him than he realized. Who killed the dog and why is his father keeping secrets from him?
Christopher is said to be on the autism spectrum but we are never told what he exactly he has. And Haddon has said that he doesn’t consider himself to be an expert on autism or Asperger’s syndrome. That may be why he didn’t go into detail about it. But the interesting thing is that this book is one of the best and most authentic books about autism and how people who have autism experience the world around them.
Haddon said in an interview “I have to say honestly that I did more research about the London Underground and the inside of Swindon Railway Station, where some of the novel takes place, than I did about Asperger’s syndrome. I gave him kind of 9 or 10 rules that he would live his life by, and then I didn’t read any more about Asperger’s because I think there is no typical person who has Asperger’s syndrome, and they’re as large and diverse a group of people as any other group in society. And the important thing is that I did a lot of imagining, that I did a lot of putting myself into his shoes in trying to make him come alive as a human being rather than getting him right, whatever that might mean.”
As some people may have guessed from the title, the book was inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes’ short story The Adventure of Silver Blaze. This novel went on to win a bunch of awards including Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.
Reading this novel is a different experience from reading any other novel out there. The narration is brilliant and works on so many levels. If anything, it makes the mystery of a dog’s disappearance much more interesting which is why I recommend it to avid readers. Happy reading!