This review does not contain spoilers.
Fifteen-year-old Christopher has a photographic memory. He understands maths. He understands science. What he can’t understand are other human beings. When he finds his neighbour’s dog lying dead on the lawn, he decides to track down the killer and write a murder mystery about it. But what other mysteries will he end up uncovering?
Curious Incident is a touching story about a brilliant boy with a neurodevelopmental disorder. Despite an affinity for routine, by the end of the book Christopher’s life has undergone drastic and terrifying changes.
I know this book splits opinions because of the narrative style and the character’s extremely clinical view of the world. As one of Christopher’s greatest joys comes from maths and logical thinking, there are many diagrams and equations in the book that might put some people off. To be honest, if I didn’t understand some of it or felt I could already grasp the situation then I skipped over these illustrations without it affecting the story as a whole.
This is the first (and only, if I remember correctly) book I’ve read that features a narrator with a neurodevelopmental disorder so of course it takes some getting used too. But Christopher’s unique voice bounds off the page for me and I’ve never had any trouble picturing him or hearing his voice while reading.
When I was in New York last year, I was surprised to find that a play had been made of Curious Incident and I dragged my family along to see it. I’d happily recommend the play for fans of the book and anyone who wasn’t sure of the book itself; it’s a stunning and accurate production and audiences are treated to a more easily relatable story because of the actors’ abilities. The staging also gives you a more informed—but not overwhelming—understanding of what it’s like in Christopher’s mind.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of those rare books that sticks perfectly in your head years after reading. Mark Haddon has created a range of complex characters, and his depiction of Christopher is an incredible achievement. Though I understand why people mightn’t like this book, I have nothing but praise for it.