The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time by Mark Haddon

“Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”

Synopsis from Back Cover:

“The curious incident of the dog in the night time” is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down”.

Personal Thoughts:

It is never explicitly stated in the story what is Christopher real condition but basically he is a special child. He is 15-year-old with a unique view of the world around him. And since this is first person point of view we are seeing everything through Christopher’s eyes, which makes the plot and language very simple. But the simplicity of writing makes the story and the character more real. The narration is detached in just a way it is supposed to be. Like Christopher, it is cold and logical without any passion or emotion. The entire story is told in just the way as Christopher would tell it, making it believable.

It is sad that Christopher can’t handle his emotional side well in-spite of his high intelligent. He does not seem to understand other people as being human like him. He is usually overwhelmed and confused. He fear the world around him, one of his equations explain how he view fear:

Feartotal = Fearnew place X Fearnear Father = constant

I like the detective part of the book. It is not edge-of-the-seat action but Christopher’s way of finding out all the clues to discover who killed Wellington is perfectly done. The way Christopher uses math and logic to solve the mystery in his world is uniquely presented. The illustrations, puzzles and mathematical explanations are creatively used. It gives more depth to Christopher’s thoughts and character. His curiosity definitely leads readers to his world. It is just disappointing that the discovery of Wellington killer is not solve by Christopher systematic approach but through his father’s confession. Which then leads him to investigate more things about their family and into solving his own mysteries.

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time is a heart-warming and witty story. It may not have much suspense or thrill like other mystery novel but it has a rich perspective. The way Christopher view the world around him reminds us the complexities of human nature. Christopher’s logical, straightforward and guileless way of thinking are quite at odds with the way people generally behave or expected to behave. Yet, his simple observations are right most of the time. It’s amazing how a child who doesn’t understand enough about human emotions can narrate an emotional story like this.

Quotes From The Book:

“Being clever was when you looked at how things were and used the evidence to work out something new.”

“Lots of things are mysteries. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer to them. It’s just that scientists haven’t found the answer yet.”

“Most murders are committed by someone who is known to the victim. In fact, you are most likely to be murdered by a member of your own family on Christmas day.”

“I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”

“I do not want my name to mean a story about being kind and helpful. I want my name to mean me.”

“I think people believe in heaven because they don’t like the idea of dying, because they want to carry on living and they don’t like the idea that other people will move into their house and put their things into the rubbish.”

“Mr. Jeavons said that I liked maths because it was safe. He said I liked maths because it meant solving problems, and these problems were difficult and interesting but there was always a straightforward answer at the end. And what he meant was that maths wasn’t like life because in life there are no straightforward answers at the end.”

“When you look at the sky you know you are looking at stars which are hundreds and thousands of light-years away from you. And some of the stars don’t even exist anymore because their light has taken so long to get to us that they are already dead, or they have exploded and collapsed into red dwarfs. And that makes you seem very small, and if you have difficult things in your life it is nice to think that they are what is called negligible, which means they are so small you don’t have to take them into account when you are calculating something.”

5 thoughts on “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time by Mark Haddon

  1. This was actually one of the books I could stand to read. After reading your post though you made the book seem really good and interesting. Which yes it was interesting. I just thought in my opinion, it was lacking be a good read.


  2. I recall reading this book a few years back and given my discipline, I was riveted by it. I think it’s a perfect choice for the Whodunit Reading Challenge indeed. It’s also able to convey how a dispassionate (logical and mathematical) viewpoint and its narration can effectively evoke powerful emotions in people. =)


    • Wow! Thanks for saying that it’s perfect choice for the Whodunit Reading Challenge. Honestly, after finishing the book, I wasn’t sure if it is good enough for the challenge. Given the fact that it is not that suspenseful or thrilling. But I can’t help to emphasize how logic & math was used in solving mysteries. I enjoy those parts of this book.


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