Unlike most fifteen year olds, Christopher Boone isn’t afraid when he sees his neighbor’s dog stabbed by a pitchfork.
Boone, the main character in Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” simply pulls the pitchfork out and embraces the deceased creature.
He prefers dogs over people, because he says, “You always know what they are thinking.” Boone, the arguably autistic narrator, makes it his mission to solve the case of who murdered this dog, Wellington.
When the cops see him holding this dead and bleeding dog, they immediately suspect him as the murderer. Christopher never lies, so he simply tells them he did not kill Wellington, while the dog’s owner, Mrs. Shears, is less than convinced.
Christopher cannot handle being touched; he loathes the colors yellow and brown, but adores red. Merely seeing four yellow cars in a row makes him silent for the rest of the day, refusing to eat his lunch. He declares it a “Super Good Day,” however, when he sees five red cars in a row.
His practices take a toll on his single father, who lacks patience at times. His father urges Christopher to stop investigating Wellington’s murder and when he doesn’t, problems between them escalate.
When searching for clues to Wellington’s murder, Christopher finds himself unwrapping secrets to his own life and realizing the people closest to him have been anything but truthful, which becomes painfully hard for him to process. This murder-mystery novel reaches far beyond Wellington.
Haddon’s voice for Christopher makes for an interesting read for anyone with experience with autism, and eye-opening for anyone without such experience. He puts you into the mindset of a teen with autistic tendencies, while it is never confirmed in the book.
The readers eventually find themselves understanding the reasoning behind most of his quirks, and sympathizing for those that must honor them. The shocking mystery aspect of this novel will make it hard to put down, and nearly impossible to predict.
Possibly the only main flaw in this book is the ending. It lacks complete resolution and leaves the reader wondering what happens next. Some may argue the ending is unfair to the main characters involved, while the last paragraph is undeniably cheesy.
Despite it’s ending, this book is definitely worth the quick read. Haddon has created a unique perspective on autism and the people it effects, while proving not every mystery novel has a direct villain. It will leave your mind blown and heart heavy with the inescapable hardships every person experiences.
Star Rating: 4 stars