Book Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

I consider myself relatively well-read. Admittedly, I have my preferred genres, and during my college years I read so much academically that I rarely felt like reading for fun, but I enjoy few things more than settling into a comfy chair with a good book. When I picked up The Curious Incident, I thought at first glance that I had found a quirky little niche novel, like discovering a new indie band. Since that day, I have learned that this book inspired both a play and a movie. This is a Big Story that has a local human-interest feel. I hope it delights you as much as it did me. 

The Basics: 

Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author: Mark Haddon
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Comedy, Character Study
Publisher: Vintage Contemporaries, 2003

Spoiler-Free Summary: 

We follow our protagonist, an adult with mental disabilities, as he unravels the mystery of his neighbor’s dead dog. Along the way, we get a first-hand look at what it’s like to live in his world and all the quirkiness therein. The Curious Case handles the protagonist’s disability with respect and humor. We see his strength of character as he overcomes challenges most take for granted, and learn that sometimes what others see as weakness can be great strength. 

Why this book might be for you:

If you like television shows such as Monk, Psych, and Father Brown, or books like The Cat Who mysteries, you will eat this up. Our detective is the quintessential eccentric investigator, and his escapades are laugh-out-loud funny. If you enjoy meta-humor, there is something for you here as well. The protagonist occasionally stops the narrative to comment on the process of writing the mystery down as the very book we hold in our hands. 

The craft of the text is well-executed and interesting in itself. The author pulls off a first-person narrative from a wholly different perspective in a way that keeps the pages turning. There are times where I found myself so sucked into the protagonist’s way of thinking that it made more sense than the “normal” response. 

Why this book might not be for you: 

If you dislike first person, small scope, or intimate stories, this may not be for you. 

Where can you find more?

You can find Mark’s writing and art at his website. He keeps an Amazon author page, and you can find his thoughts about this very book on The Guardian


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