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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enlightening book and a terrific debut novel
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...
Published on June 21 2003 by Excession

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A light read
I found this book to be entertaining but not especially touching or engaging. After reading so many fabulous reviews I was disappointed after reading it. For people with no knowledge of autism this book can provide important insight into this world. I thought the book lacked direction but did a good job of developing the character and perspective of an autistic child.
Published on March 24 2005


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enlightening book and a terrific debut novel, June 21 2003
By 
Excession "excession" (Westfield, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Captivaring, Sept. 15 2005
By 
Mark Wakely (Lombard, Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educating entertainment, May 25 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not about the poodle, Nov. 26 2004
This review is from: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Paperback)
Light in emotions but deep in description - Haddon has obviously used his experience working with autistic children to great advantage. The result, Christopher Boone. A very raw, well developed character - with realistic ideas about life, and simple views and perspective into humanity. Other characters introduced and situations explored in the novel are quite complex in detail - however Haddon's writing style provides wonderful insight into these situations, as the reader is able to perceive these instances through Christopher's simplistic reasoning.
To be completely honest in my review, I'm no genius, and found a lot of the mathematical parts confusing. Haddon has done quite well simplifying them in layman's terms, though often I found myself skimming over these parts.
The content of these parts is in fact of little importance and by skimming over them I was only further emphasizing the idea that Christopher Boone is a mathematical genius. And Haddon has done particularly well in conveying this through his novel with colorful descriptions and diagrams.
A 2-4 hour read, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME is very well presented. The cover has a hole-punched dog, which looks through to a page of reviews on the novel. This book would make a great gift for anyone from teen to elderly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artfully Autistic, Feb. 11 2004
By 
Jacquelyn M. Martin (Akron, OH United States) - See all my reviews
If having autism could be demonstrated quite literally, this book is it! I have known many individuals with autism over the last 30 years and I saw many of them in the character of the narrator, Christopher. Christopher's character is the essence of the person with autism, who wants the world to be well-ordered and logical. He does mathematical equations in his head to get calm and I wish that would work for me!
I loved reading Christopher's thought processes thoughout the book. Christopher decides to investigate who murdered Wellington, the neighbor's dog. His father tells him to mind his own business and not investigate. But Christopher thinks about what Sherlock Holmes would do and investigates anyway. Christopher reasons that most people who kill others usually kill someone they know and are close to. He then reasons it would not unusual to be murdered by someone in your family on Christmas Day!
This book is a work of art and it provides pathos, wisdom and understanding to the curious world of people with autism in the daytime and the nighttime.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and surprising, Aug. 26 2004
This review is from: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Paperback)
Unlike some of the recent novels I have read, this book does not rely on sentimental journeys into the past: the 1960's or the 1970's. The prose is crisp and the descriptions are specific. Working in mental health, I was pleased to see that the narrator's likes, dislikes and behaviours were not overly explained and were treated more as eccentricities. The story was acutely respectful without seeming 'politically correct'. The fact that the narrator may or may not be autistic was not the key factor to the novel and that made it all the more refreshing. Basically - it was a good story, well written and unique. I would recommend it to everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't read too many of these reviews!, Dec 20 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Paperback)
Some of these reviews give away far too many details about the book, the narrator, the dog, etc. I wish I'd just been told the bare minimum so I could have had more surprises, so I'll just say that I simply loved, loved, loved this book. If you loved Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife or Jennifer Paddock's A Secret Word, then you will love The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It would make a perfect gift, as I think all these titles would. They go above and beyond what the average novelist conceives. There's genius in the whole concept and in the structure and voice and spare readable sentences, everything.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woof, Sept. 21 2006
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This review is from: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Paperback)
----The Curious Incident---- is one of the most inventive books I've ever read. Even though there wasn't a lot of dialogue, the author makes up for it with his descriptions. The way he described things made me picture things in a different way, so I never got bored. The author also used tone well and would have the right tone with different situations in the book. The author's fun and unique way of writing always kept me interested. The book was one of the greatest books I have ever read. For a rating from 1 to 10, I would give this book a 10. I think it deserves a ten because it was very exciting and also kept me interested. It also gave you an idea of how autistic people may see things and I thought that that was very cool. I think that anyone from a teenager to older would enjoy this book. I wouldn't recommend this to younger kids because they may not understand Christopher's emotions. Another great Amazon pick would be ----Katzenjammer---- by Jackson MCcrae--very funny and original.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please buy my book!, Nov. 5 2005
This review is from: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Paperback)
Constantly bewildered by the (to him) incomprehensible behavior of those around him, Christopher resembles nothing so much as a human plunked down on a distant planet, trying desperately to figure out how to interpret the language and behavior of an alien species. And, in a way, many of Christopher's conclusions and 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. Which is not to say Christopher can't also be infuriating, with his startling rigidity and resistance to change; he's prone to loss of bladder control and groaning fits when confused or scared by his surroundings - which is rather often. Nevertheless, he's deeply sympathetic and intensely believable, even if (like me) you've never met an autistic person before.
Other characters, such as Christopher's father and bereaved dog-owner Mrs. Shears, are realistically flawed and very convincing. They're not saints, by any means; Christopher's father tries hard to be patient, but can't control his frustration and anger, and all too often takes it out on his unresisting son. Mrs. Shears, for her part, is icily distant to Christopher. At first we assume that it's because of his insensitive poking into the death of her pet, but as the story progresses, we learn that her hostility stems from other, understandable (though not very noble) reasons. Obviously, Christopher's not responsible for his condition, and obviously he wouldn't have chosen to be as he is; but even though he can't help it, the boy is a heavy burden to those who must care for him, and frequent flare-ups of resentment and bitterness keep the story well away from saccharine TV-movie territory. Must also recommend MY FRIEND LEONARD as it is one great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Curiously different . . . and good, too!, June 20 2005
This review is from: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Paperback)
CURIOUS INCIDENT is one of two books that our book club recently picked up to read. The other was BARK OF THE DOGWOOD-A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens (it too had a "dog" theme). Both were excellent, but INCIDENT was much shorter and moved faster. The Dogwood book was a serious piece of literature and we plan to revisit it, but INCIDENT had immediate appeal and we loved it. It's hard to know where to begin the praise. Apparently Mark Haddon has written for children before and, in his youth, worked with the autistic. Christopher takes us for a very interesting journey as he deals with real life issues in a manner that we, surprisingly, can relate to quite easily. Granted, the specifics of how he deals with them are unusual; for instance, I don't believe that most of us will run through all of the prime numbers we possibly can in order to calm ourselves, nor do I believe that most of us determine what sort of day we will have by the number of red cars we see in the morning. We all experience fear, loss, and disappointment, however, and those are some of the unifying experiences of being a human being. I'm really afraid I can't tell you much more about the book without spoiling virtually everything, but you'll have to take my word when I say there are some really interesting, and unexpected, developments. We also enjoyed LIF OF PI by Martel and TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE.
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Paperback - May 18 2004)
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