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by Mark Haddon
Recorded Books, June 2003
Unabridged audio pages
ISBN: 1402568851

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Christopher Boone lives with his father. As far as he knows his mother died of a heart attack several years ago. Although things are not perfect in his world, for example, sometimes his food touches, Christopher is content. One night, he looks out of his window and sees that Wellington, his neighbor's dog, is dead. He likes the dog and goes to investigate. His neighbor sees him hold the dog and calls the police. The policeman touches Christopher so he hits him. This causes Christopher to go to jail for questioning. Christopher decides that he should investigate Wellington's death since the police do not seem concerned with finding the culprit. He uses Sherlock Holmes as his basis since Holmes relies on logical and studying the clues around him. This investigation will cause Christopher's nice safe logical world to fall apart around him.

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME is one of those books were numerous adjectives, several of which are contradictory, come to mind. For example, this book is poignant, powerful, captivating and enjoyable. In addition, it is humorous, heart wrenching, painful and unforgettable. Christopher is an amusing narrator. He is autistic, which creates problems for human interactions; yet, he remains brilliant in other matters. He sees the world through numbers because numbers make sense. Christopher is unable to understand the human emotion and instability that occurs in the world. By using Christopher, someone unable to grasp the nature of emotion, it makes the events he relates less painful without them losing meaning. While most people would be flinching inside and confused about their actions; Christopher knows what makes him feel safe and sets out to accomplish it. In a way the simplicity of his security is enviable.

Although there is a mystery at the very heart of the book, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME focuses more on the struggle Christopher faces in his daily life. He does think of himself as normal; yet, everyone around him treats him as though as he was special. He has grand dreams for himself in the future; yet, he has to work hard to go out into public. In addition, this book gives a glimpse at the patience that his family must have in order to deal with him and his disability. Through Christopher's struggles, Haddon demonstrates the difficulties all autistic people must face.

This book is read by Jeff Woodman. Woodman does a fantastic job reading this book. He does the accents perfectly and manages to create a voice for all of the characters. In addition, he has the ability to capture the confusion Christopher feels, which is evident in both his voice and the pauses in the narrative. Albeit, British slang is always enjoyable to listen to; yet, Woodman helps make the narration of this book as powerful as it is.

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME is Mark Haddon's debut novel for adults. Haddon is a children's book writer and illustrator. He has had experience working with autistic children, which is apparent in his rendition of Christopher. Hopefully, Haddon's future endeavors will be just as powerful and enjoyable as this one.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, September 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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