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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Today Show Book Club #13) Hardcover – 2003

178 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 2003
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Doubleday (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385512104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385512107
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.2 x 21.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #217,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher's carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor's dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing. Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents' marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn into the workings of Christopher's mind. And herein lies the key to the brilliance of Mark Haddon's choice of narrator: The most wrenching of emotional moments are chronicled by a boy who cannot fathom emotion. The effect is dazzling, making for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing is a mind that perceives the world literally." The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Tim"e is one of the freshest debuts in years: a comedy, a heartbreaker, a mystery story, a novel of exceptional literary merit that is great fun to read.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mark Wakely on Sept. 15 2005
Format: Paperback
As both an author and father of a child with Asperger's, I was drawn to this book to see if Haddon could truly capture the unique brilliance and absent social skills of an autistic boy. Not only does he succeed at the task, he adds a healthy dash of humor while avoiding the easy trap of pathos a lesser author might have fallen into. The book is stunning in its accuracy of how those with autism view the world and- just as important- how the world views them. It is this last viewpoint that elevates the book to more than just clever, because we see through Christopher's literal-minded eyes the duplicity of the "normal" world, the world that all assume must be superior. In a way, Haddon's book reminds me of that great short story "Gimpel the Fool" by Isaac Bashevis Singer, a story of a simple man who believes all the lies he's told. In the end, it's not those who tried to trick him, but Gimpel himself who's revealed to be the wisest one for remaining firm in his belief that goodness will prevail. So too does Christopher prevail, his detective work unveiling the truth and overcoming all the futile attempts to thwart or dismiss his meticulous investigation.
I don't know if I'll ever write a book with an autistic character, but thanks to Mr. Haddon, I feel like it's already been done for me.
Strongly recommended.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Excession on June 21 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a very unusual novel mostly because of the narrator's autism. Simple to read, the novel has an interesting rhythm to it as the reader becomes more familiar with Christopher's disability. While I initially thought it would become repetitive, the story takes some turns to make it a consistently enjoyable reading experience.
Christopher begins to write the book to solve the mystery of the murder of Wellington, a neighbor's dog, like his hero Sherlock Holmes. Along the way, we learn about his family situation, his view of the world, his idiosyncrasies, and his school life. He's not exactly an unreliable narrator, but the author does an excellent job of imagining the problems involved when the storyteller has autism and the story is consistent with this perspective.
While not a perfect book, I would recommend this highly, especially to people who want a fresh and different reading experience. It's not at all preachy, and it deals with a little understood disability with honesty; this reader came away from the book with a new understanding of the difficulties of dealing with autism. It is well worth your time to pick this one up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jamieson Villeneuve on May 1 2009
Format: Paperback
In Mark Haddon's amazing first novel, we meet fifteen year old Christopher Boone. Now, Christopher is no normal fifteen year old. He is obsessed with Sherlock Holmes, doesn't like people touching him, and detests the colours yellow and brown. He is also an idiot savant.

Christopher lives with his father in Swindon England. His mother has been dead for two years though he can still remember her. Christopher has a difficult life, but his father is trying to keep things together as much as he can. What Christopher doesn't know, however, is that his life is about to change drastically.

"It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs. Shears' house. Its eyes were closed. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog."

Christopher is able to relate better to animals than to people. As he holds Ms. Shears` dog in his arms, Christopher makes the decision to investigate what happened to the dog. He begins to write a book, the book we are holding. "This is a murder mystery novel," he says, though it is certainly not a conventional one. What Christopher finds out, however, may be more than he can handle.

This book is absolutely incredible. I was able to finish it in two days and I wished there was more. Not only is "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" one of the most wonderful books I have ever read, it is also one of the most creative. The entire narrative is told in Christopher's voice and follows his thought patterns. There are math puzzles riddled through out, information about space and stories about Sherlock Holmes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25 2006
Format: Paperback
Mark Haddon's real-life experience with autistic children allowed him to craft this masterpiece by providing the perspective of a young autistic teenager's mind. Christopher's why of thinking - and consequently, his actions - make logical sense, but because he lacks a normal person's ability to make intuitive connections or understand the unspoken, Christopher has to rely on the imperfect set of rules he's learned about human behavior. Haddon is a subtle and sensitive writer, leaving it to us to draw the conclusions that Christopher can't. I thoroughly enjoyed Christopher's often poetic digressions on mathematics, religion, astronomy, and cosmology, which helped bring his character alive and provided humor as well as food for thought. This is a book that I highly recommend to everybody - it is not only an interesting read, but also a great learning experience. For the same reason (educating entertainment) I also recommend a series of 3 children's books titled "Why some cats are rascals"
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