Friday, August 22, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time | Mark Haddon

I've been away on vacation, for just under two weeks and I've managed to get through two books... and half way through another. Book reviews aren't fresh in my head, but I remember Steinbeck saying that he always needed to wait for his ideas to stew before writing... maybe this will work out in my favour.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is about an autistic child who discovers a dead dog with a pitch-fork in his body. He decides to play a detective, trying to solve who committed the murder. However, when the mystery is solved, the book takes on a different theme. This revolves around the boy's journey, both physical and emotional.

I get the feeling from reading this book that Haddon really understood autistic children. I even think that he did a very good job of encapsulating some of the behaviours, actions and emotions of an autistic child, coping with the complex world around them. However, I just do not have the feeling he completely nailed the experience on the head. I don't have much backing as to why I believe this (as I didn't write down quotes this time), but certain things he says and I'm paraphrasing "and then I groaned to drown out the noise," just don't seem to be in a state that I would believe an autistic mind is in. This may be what the autistic child is DOING, but I doubt that this is what he is THINKING.

However, the book was written in a way that makes the reader think differently about the world. The prose is very simple, but the ideas are very complex. Certain things you would not explore on a regular basis or give any second thoughts to, are explained in a wonderful way that really shows you how unique a perspective some of these autistic individuals have. It is in this perspective that Haddon shines, and makes this book a very enjoyable read.


Rebecca Chapman said...

I really like what you said about the language being very simple but the views very complex. I think that hits the anil on the head and why I found it so effective

Anonymous said...

I realized the other day that this title is taken from an Arthur Conan Doyle short story of the same name - a famous Sherlock Holmes mystery. It's fun to see references to classic literature in new writing.