Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Book Review

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

From time to time, I am presented with a small novel.

Small, as in not a lot of words.

And several times I have caught myself wondering if small novels can be any good.

I seem to have a short memory.

I was impressed with The Postman Always Rings Twice. I was impressed with When the Emperor was Divine.

I don't know why I still question small novels.

Maybe I have finally learned my lesson.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

This story is about an autistic teenage boy who sets out discover who killed the neighbor's dog. It is told from his point of view and from that, we get a very real sense of what goes on in his head. He doesn't think the same way most of us do, but he explains it to us as we read.

Through the course of his investigating, he discovers a whole lot of other things that should probably upset him. Some of them do, some of them don't. Most of us would probably be upset by all of these things. Certainly, most of us would react differently than this autistic teenager does. But that's all part of the story here.

The writing style here is appropriate to our protagonist. It is what I might expect from a teenager. If the characterizations felt flat, it is because that is the view through the narrator's eyes. It works perfectly.

I was incredibly impressed with this story and its telling. It rings true and feels authentic in its treatment of autism. I felt compassion for this teenager. I felt for the struggle of his parents, without really knowing what living with an autistic child might be like. I was moved.

While not a happy story, it is definitely worth reading. I highly recommend it. Go out, find it and be moved.

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