The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a different book. The narrator, Christopher, is a fifteen year old special needs kid who is a math whiz, but who has a lot of difficulty understanding other people, and dealing with them. When he discovers his neighbor's standard poodle dead in the yard, he decides that he will do detective work and discover who the killer was.
I knew this book would be offbeat--and that I would probably love it--when it started off with chapter 2. The book turns out to be one that Christopher is writing about his investigation, and he numbers his chapters with all prime numbers. His narrative wobbles from trying to find out who killed Wellington the dog, to all sorts of random subjects such as life in outer space, or lists of things that interest him. Sometimes his skewed observations are weirdly on target, seeing everything as he does from a very unusual perspective.
Christopher is hampered a great deal by his inability to filter out unnecessary information. If he sees cows in a field, he knows how many there were, what colors they were, and can recreate the spot pattern on a particular cow by drawing it. Unfortunately, this overload of information often causes Christopher to become overwhelmed, and then he can barely cope.
One thing I should probably mention is that to my American mind, the Britspeak was hard to follow sometimes. Yards are gardens, cookies are biscuits, tea is a meal, and so forth.
It's a quick read, and certainly a unique and entertaining one. For a novel about a boy who doesn't really understand humanity very well, this book has a great deal of it. Recommended.
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