The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

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“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” is available from the library in hardcover, audiobook on CD, e-book, and in a Spanish edition.

Inga Dellea-MessnerEvery now and then, people need a reminder of the wisdom that comes with “difference.”

Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-time is one of these reminders.

The story, which takes place in England, is told through the viewpoint of one Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy with a social disorder.

Perhaps it’s Asperger’s Syndrome, but Haddon is very clear in interviews that he does not want this to be a book about Asperger’s. It is a book about a boy who is different, and what he goes through. And, more importantly, how he goes through it.

I see it as a book about being on the outside looking in, which can be a very good thing.

It all starts with a dead dog. A gruesomely murdered dog, actually. Christopher, who understands dogs better than people, is determined to find out who killed it.

In his search for the answer, he ignores rules, breaks promises, and unravels secrets.

How does one “socially malfunctioning” brain uncover hard truths, accept them, and adapt? It is Christopher’s infallible intelligence and logic that lead to the greatest insights.

While this story is full of tragedy–and your heart will go out to this poor kid–you will also laugh yourself silly. Haddon deftly exposes the most outrageous little idiosyncrasies of our everyday habits, while simultaneously making the outrageous habits of an autistic teenager seem perfectly reasonable.

Consider the use of a metaphor in everyday speech. For example: “I had a pig of a day” and “He has a skeleton in his cupboard.” (Remember, the book is written in British English.) Christopher calls them lies, “because a pig is not like a day and people do not have skeletons in their cupboards.”

And have you ever thought about how complex the process of imagination is? Christopher doesn’t like it, saying:

If I start thinking about something which didn’t happen I start thinking about all the other things which didn’t happen.

Read this book, and you’ll think of yourself, love, loss, and life in a whole new way.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover that that peculiar person who never speaks to you has the most meaningful things to say.

 

About Inga Dellea-Messner

Library Assistant Inga Dellea-Messner grew up in Windham and Hudson. She worked at the Rodgers Memorial Library for seven years before becoming a library assistant at the Nashua Public Library. On her way to earning her bachelor’s degree from Keene State, she spent five months studying French in Bretagne (Brittany).

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