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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's, a form of autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour's dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

 

 

RRP: £6.99, <a href ="http://www.thebookplace.com/bookplace/spring2005.asp?CID=BGO733" TARGET="_blank">The Book Pl@ce</a> Price: £4.89

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I concur - an excellent book.

 

The plot is thin (you'll see the twist coming a mile off) but is more than made up for by the creative narrative. Being written in the first person, one of the hardest things to get to grips with is the matter of fact way major events in the story are related to the reader. Blink and you miss them.

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This was the most enjoyable novel I have read this year. I think the conceit is brilliant, but to pull it off so convincingly was equally brilliant (whether it is accurately is a different matter altogether). What a superb twist on the whodunnit, where the reader knows so much more than the narrator and has to work between the lines to work out what's really going on. Which adds to the pathos when we realise what's happened to his mother, but it's beyond his conception and comprehension.

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It is a good book, but do let's get a little perspective - it's a children's book. There are, trust me, more grown up novels out there. Have we read Philip Roth's The Plot Against America ? Curious Dog is well done, but not a breakthrough. Sold well, though....

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Yes the plot was a bit thin, and the reader doesn't have to work very hard to guess whodunnit, but the execution is excellent. It gives the reader an understanding of this condition but it's not written in a 'worthy' or po-faced way at all, it's entertaining and creates sympathy for the characters.

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Yes the plot was a bit thin, and the reader doesn't have to work very hard to guess whodunnit, but the execution is excellent. It gives the reader an understanding of this condition but it's not written in a 'worthy' or po-faced way at all, it's entertaining and creates sympathy for the characters.

 

Its so nice to get an original treatment - Im not sure its a children's book. it may be written from a child's point of view but it certainly brought home the way adults try to control each other. I enjoyed it.

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I have to say that i really didn't like this book. Darkstar, I agree, it was rather thin. And (Lots of people have had a go at me for saying this!) I found the boy in the book REALLY REALLY annoying!!!! I know he has a disease, and that he can't help it, but at times I really wanted to punch him.

I know this girl with Aspergeus (sp?) syndrome, and Me and 2 friends have to meet her every Wednesday, as she has no friends, and even though I KNOW she can't help it, I really want to shout at her. Sounds really horrible, but if someone normal did that I would, and even though allownaces have to be made, it still gets on my nerves.

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I have to say that i really didn't like this book. Darkstar, I agree, it was rather thin. And (Lots of people have had a go at me for saying this!) I found the boy in the book REALLY REALLY annoying!!!! I know he has a disease, and that he can't help it, but at times I really wanted to punch him.

I know this girl with Aspergeus (sp?) syndrome, and Me and 2 friends have to meet her every Wednesday, as she has no friends, and even though I KNOW she can't help it, I really want to shout at her. Sounds really horrible, but if someone normal did that I would, and even though allownaces have to be made, it still gets on my nerves.

 

I've only read it once, and I sped-read it so I need to re-read it to get the whole plot, but the boy did annoy me massively. Our friend's only got mild Asperger's but she's still incredibly annoying and reading that book made me understand why she's like that but it didn't make me like her.

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I didn't particularly like this book, but at least it did give me an understanding of aspergers (then again, if I wanted an understanding I would have bought a book on aspergers!).

 

Because it is written from a childs perspective I think it comes across as a childs book and that, for me, just made me want to finish it and find myself a decent adults book. I read it on recommendation but if I had read the first chapter (hell, the first 2 lines) beforehand then there's no way I would have paid for it!

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It is a good book, but do let's get a little perspective - it's a children's book. There are, trust me, more grown up novels out there. Have we read Philip Roth's The Plot Against America ? Curious Dog is well done, but not a breakthrough. Sold well, though....

 

Why does a book have to be "grown up" to be good? Anyway, I enjoyed this book and thought it was original in the way that it dealt with the matter from the perspective of the sufferer; as it's intended for children it could have been a bit patronising. Well worth a read.

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I enjoyed the book and learned something about Aspergers into the bargain.

 

My sympathy for Christopher was tempered by the details of his favourite dream - where everybody is dead except people like him, but he can get everything he wants. I found that changed the way I felt about the character.

 

Sure the plot is thin, but it worked.

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I 'discovered' this book one night when I woke up to find the radio on in the middle of a reading of (I think) Book at Bedtime. Within a sentence or two i was wide awake, having recognised the 'voice' as that of someone with an autistic condition, Having had known several people with Aspergers and autism I found this a fascinating glimpse into how the world looks from their point of view.

This is one of the reasons that I read, to see things from another perspective. The fact that the narrator is a teenage boy, and one with a learning disability, does not make it a book aimed at teenagers, boys or the learning disabled. In fact, I doubt if the very young would have sufficient understanding of lives different to their own to be able to empathize with someone so unlike themselves. (As 'Little Britain" has demonstrated).

Aspergers and autism sufferers have enough to cope with, as we are shown in this book, without people who should know better treating them with disdain.

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I found this book very insightful. Reading it I saw into the world that those who have aspergers or autism inhabit. I felt it was a very moving description told within a simple story, that only served to highlight how confusing our society must be for those who view it through the barrier of their condition. I have a young cousin who has aspergers who is wonderful and I see the frustration an intelligent person suffers through the inability to communicate effectively using language. Like any human being those with a disability can have lovely or difficulty personalities. They don't need our pity or our disdain but our understanding. I thought that this book was for everyone not just children and agree with the previous comment by megustaleer.

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I read the book and enjoyed it, being curious about how people with Asperger's experience the world. I have worked with people with Asperger's, many of whom are older and have been misdiagnosed with mental health problems. I think the posters who talked about the boy in the story being annoying were just being honest about their reaction to the character. I as a professional have to manage my personal feelings in my encounters with people with Aspergers, but I am very aware that they can be infuriating to us so-called normals, because they can not read people, they do not pick up emotional cues, take everything literally, and often need rituals in order to feel safe and secure. They are very difficult to live with!

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I liked this book. I thought the author did a good job of shwoing what this condition was like from "the inside". Of course, I guess we can't know really what it's like but this was a nice peek at possibility based I would think on either experience, good research, or insightful observation (maybe a combination of these) The author also did a nice bit of showing the "other side" - how hard it is to change our way of thinking to cope with someone who is outside the normal mental processing "box". There were surprises too! The bit with the dog really shook me! I never suspected. AND I am usually pretty good at figuring things out. I liked the characters, they were well drawn. Each had their tragic flaws but there were stills things about them that you could like and that is as it is often in real life. I'd venture to read another book by this author!

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My younger brother is autistic and I imagine that, if he ever showed an inclination to write a novel (very unlikely), it might have been something like this. Christopher's thought processes seemed absolutely spot on.

 

The only thing that niggled slightly was the maths. There is a common misconception that lots of people with an autistic spectrum disorder have some kind of savant ability such as the ability to do complex maths at lightning fast speeds, perfectly reproduce paintings etc. This is, in fact, pretty rare, but both this and the film "Rainman" have done their bit to perpetuate that myth.

 

Those who've talked about Christopher being annoying are being honest - people with ASDs CAN be REALLY annoying, take it from somebody related to one!!

 

Other than that, I thought this was a worthy Whitbread winner, one of the best novels I read in 2004, for kids or adults. And those posters who've belittled it just because its a children's book need to lighten up, there's lots of great children's writing out there, and its fun to read, especially after working your way through something serious and worthy.

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Your comments are interesting, Grammath. The only person I've come across who HATED this book was someone who has a brother with Asperger's. They said they thought the portrayal of Christopher was 'dishonest' and had issues with the way the adults behaved. They used their personal experience of the condition as a way of demolishing the book.

 

All of which goes to show, that, as with any book, different people find different things in it.

 

I loved it.

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Other than that, I thought this was a worthy Whitbread winner, one of the best novels I read in 2004, for kids or adults. And those posters who've belittled it just because its a children's book need to lighten up, there's lots of great children's writing out there, and its fun to read, especially after working your way through something serious and worthy.

 

I liked the book, Grammath and I liked your post. I did find it surprising that you referred to this as a childrens' book? I thought of it as a book about a child but for adults. Or maybe it is a Young Adult book appropriate for someone in their teens or older. I would think that a young child might have trouble understanding some of the issues in the book.

 

Trudy

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Winterwren:

 

The Whitbread award it won in the UK was for best children's book, not best novel. I agree with you, "young adult/teenage" might have been a better description.

 

I highlighted this because earlier posters had made comments that, in so many words, it was somehow less fine a novel because it wasn't aimed at an adult audience.

 

Darkstar:

 

I suppose in a way I agree with your friend because as I say the savant aspect of Christopher i.e his mathematical ability, is relatively rare, but savantism has been singled out as an aspect of autism so that is the wider public's understanding of it. In that respect, it is dishonest.

 

As for the adults, in a way its hard to say. We see things in the book from Christopher's perspective, but he is unable to assess their emotional motivations for doing what they do, in turn making it harder for readers. The over-protectiveness of Christopher's father, for example, certainly struck a chord with me.

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As far as I understand it, from interviews I've heard, Mark Haddon wrote the book for adults, but his publishers decided that it should be published as a children's book too.

 

Also, he claims never to have worked with, or studied anyone with Aspergers...which seems amazing to me,

 

Of about half-a-dozen people I've known with an ASD, only one was a savant.

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It was the only novel that I bought last year and didn't finish. That hasn't happened for quite a while and tells you all you need to know about what I thought of it.

 

My main problem is that I just could not stand the narrator. If Christopher is supposed to make me sympathetic to people with that condition then I am afraid the author failed miserably. (note this a criticism of Mark Haddon, not people with Asperger's). If a reader can't get past this central flaw in a first-person novel that it's pretty much over with.

 

Then the plot was, who cares? It got so I didn't care who killed the dog, why his mother left, what the neighbours were up to or anything. I'd classify it as a children's book, and maybe younger teenagers would like it. Though I'd spend my money to give them the origianal Sherlock instead.

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