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Fiction

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Curious incident of the dog

My name is Christopher John Francis Boone. I know all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7,507. 

Christopher Boone is 15-year-old and autistic, Aspergers syndrome to be precise, who lives in Swindon, Wiltshire. Christopher Boone is very gifted. He is mathematically gifted, he has a photographic memory, he cannot tell a lie which at times can cause trouble, however, he does tell white lies to people. He also has a great ability to observe and see things. He has a very hard time understanding human emotions and need help learning them. He also has a hard time understanding jokes. Christopher also does not like to be touched. When he is touched, or confused, or receives too much information, he curls up into a ball or hit back. He also hates brown and yellow, but likes red colour. He observes colour of cars for the day to determine how his day will go.

One night Christopher finds his neighbour’s dog, Wellington, is “murdered”. It was stabbed through with a pitchfork. He held the dog compassionately, but was taken in by the police for questioning. He then resolve to solve the mystery of the dog’s murder, with encouragement from his carer, Siobhan, he writes about his pursuit of the truth and along the way he expresses his own thoughts and his adventure to find the truth. 

On hating yellow and brown colour:

Mrs Forbes said that hating yellow and brown is just being silly. And Siobhan said that she shouldn’t’ say things like that and everyone has favourite colours. But in life you have to take lots of decisions and if you don’t’ take decisions you would never do anything because you would spend all your time choosing between things you could do. So it is good to have a reason why you hate some things and you like others.

It’s like being in a restaurant and you look at the menu and you have to choose what you are going to have. But you don’t know if you are going to like something because you haven’t tasted it yet, so you have favourite foods and you choose these, and you have foods you don’t like and you don’t choose these, and then it is simple. 

route mapI learnt so many things from Christopher. I learn the difference between heart attack, aneurysm and embolism; on how the mind works, constellation Orion, the idea of time etc. I also like the way he maps his route, floor plan of the train station and houses. Most importantly I understand what an autistic person thinks. It reminded me of the movie “Rain Man” played by Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. 

Another interesting part of the book is that the chapters are in prime numbers order. So the chapters are 2,3,5,7,11 etc… One of my favourite quotes of all is: 

“Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them”.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has to rank as one of the most unique perspectives I’ve seen in a book. Christopher’s perspective is hilarious and heartbreaking. Once you finish reading this book, you might find yourself wanting to think like Christopher does. His world is an honest one, void of emotions, beautiful yet precarious. At times you feel comforted by the way he thinks, other times you feel a bit anxious and panicky because you know how Christopher thinks, but others will not understand how he thinks. And you want so desperately for everyone to just understand him. Like the time when he is trying to get to London and find his way in the underground and the time when he put himself in grave danger when he run for his mouse on the rail track. And there are parts where the sadness literally reduced me to tears. The part when Christopher’s father was in tears, apologising, washing and dressing him up, reassuring that he loves Christopher. The part when Christopher thought he is not going to sit for his A-level maths. Not in a contrived, manipulated way. But everything in the book felt so genuine and sincere, even if Christopher can’t understand any of the following expression!

smileys

I wonder if we can’t find a little bit of ourselves in Christopher, even if we are not autistic? I like timetables. I get a little panicky if I’m rushing and don’t have a clear direction to my destination. I prefer mathematics and algebra, systems and process maps, things which has a definite solution rather than grey areas. I knew I wouldn’t do well in expertise such as Human Resources, Politics or Philosophy or Psychology. I scream or smash things when I’m angry or confused before and I don’t like different sorts of food to mix with one another. If they do, I don’t usually eat them. 🙂

This book’s ending was sad but also hopeful. Christopher aspires to earn his first class Honours degree and to be a scientist. Despite his disability and people telling him what he cannot do, he knew he is brave. He went to London, he solved the mystery of Wellington, and wrote a book, “and that means I can do anything” he said. 

One of the best read of the year for me. It’s easy to read, and I will probably re-read it again. 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a 2003 novel by British writer Mark Haddon. It won the 2003 Whitbread Book of the Year and the 2004 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book


Verdict 5/5:

What I like most about the book: poignant, heart wrenching, compassionate, hilarious. The book made me cry, made me laugh and made me wonder if Christopher’s world is a better world than mine, for Chris’ world is much simpler, more logical and less chaotic. There is also a chapter dedicated to visiting Malaysia advertisement in the London Tube, “Malaysia truly Asia” with Christopher fascinated with pictures of Orang-utans.

What I like least about the book: I pretty much hated everyone in the entire book. Christopher’s parents (although I feel for the father), Mr and Mrs Shears, insensitive strangers and police men etc. The selfishness of people that is closest to Christopher. The swear words and the vulgarity of it, tainted the book. But all these are overshadowed by the more powerful theme of the book.


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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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