Text Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

I finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon in January, but have delayed the review until now.

Anyway, it’s the text under Standard English Module B – Close Study of Text.

This book is a really easy read! There’s 278 pages with 233 chapters (but the chapters are numbered as every prime number) and an appendix.

I think most students will enjoy (or at least appreciate) this book, because the language is so straightforward and it presents a very different perspective to the books that we would typically read. For those who haven’t read it yet, the 1st person narration is from the perspective of a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. From what I understand (and what my Psychology friend) has told me, it’s a mild form of autism, where the person has difficulty understanding social situations, facial expression and body language, empathising and essentially seeing things from another person’s point of view.

So reading this book is quite an experience! You come to understand and perceive the narrator’s world from a perspective that is very different from your own. However, in a way, his perspective can also be very insightful – there’s interesting commentary on lies/truth, human nature, emotions and life/death. In this sense, the writing is quite clever – it’s deceivingly simplistic in its language, yet it carries so much meaning in both what it says and what it doesn’t say.

Another thing that I did enjoy about the book is how it is self-reflexive. It makes references to itself and its own writing, because in the story this book is being written by the boy. As such, there’s interesting features like images, diagrams, footnotes, bolding and the appendix which is quite unconventional.

You certainly empathise with the main character, who struggles in a very complicated world, because of his Asperger’s Syndrome. However, I found that towards the end of the novel (as he leaves for London) that the character’s inability to act/think like myself (the reader) became quite frustrating. Is that just me?

Anyone else have any thoughts on this text?

1 comment for “Text Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  1. Amanda
    July 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    I think that fact that the protagonist was so different from what i was used to was what drew me to the book. I became not frustrated with Christopher, but the society around him for being so harsh. That’s just my opinion anyways.

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