The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Children's Edition Paperback – 1 Apr 2004
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The title The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (or the curious incident of the dog in the night-time as it appears within the book) is an appropriate one for Mark Haddon's ingenious novel both because of its reference to that most obsessive and fact-obsessed of detectives, Sherlock Holmes, and because its lower-case letters indicate something important about its narrator.
Christopher is an intelligent youth who lives in the functional hinterland of autism--every day is an investigation for him because of all the aspects of human life that he does not quite get. When the dog next door is killed with a garden fork, Christopher becomes quietly persistent in his desire to find out what has happened and tugs away at the world around him until a lot of secrets unravel messily.
Haddon makes an intelligent stab at how it feels to, for example, not know how to read the faces of the people around you, to be perpetually spooked by certain colours and certain levels of noise, to hate being touched to the point of violent reaction. Life is difficult for the difficult and prickly Christopher in ways that he only partly understands; this avoids most of the obvious pitfalls of novels about disability because it demands that we respect--perhaps admire--him rather than pity him. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Haddon is to be congratulated for imagining a new kind of hero, for the humbling instruction this warm and often funny novel offers and for showing that the best lives are lived where difference is cherished" (Carol Ann Duffy Daily Telegraph)
"The clash between Christopher's view of the world and the way it looks to the rest of us makes this an extraordinarily moving, often blackly funny read. It is hard to think of anyone who would not be moved and delighted by this book, so the decision to publish it simultaneously for older children and adults is certainly well-founded" (Jill Slotover Financial Times)
"Brilliantly inventive, full of dazzling set-pieces, unbearably sad, yet also skilfully dodging any encounters with sentimentality, this isn't simply the most original novel I've read in years . . . It's also one of the best" (The Times)
"A stroke of genius, as the advantages of having a naive, literal-minded boy in the driving seat are manifold . . . We do learn what it might feel like to have Asperger's Syndrome" (David Newnham TES)
"The book gave me that rare, greedy feeling of: this is so good I want to read it all at once but I mustn't or it will be over too soon" (Kate Kellaway Observer)
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, I personally have no experience in these areas, and I can honestly say that this has gone straight into my all time top 5 reads!
The story is wonderfully crafted, and not a page goes by when you do not learn something new about Christopher, the central character who has, I understand, though it is not stated in the book, Aspergers Syndrome (the book is actually written entirely from Christophers perspective).
This is one of those rare books that makes you want to discuss (not just talk about) the story. My wife and I both read it over the same weekend, and we kept finding ourselves going back to it to talk through some of the difficulties that Christopher faced, and how it must be to have to deal with them, either as the child or as a parent. This story really gives an insight into a mind which, in some ways, is far more developed than the mind of an "ordinary" person. It also gives you a feel for what it must be like to need complete structure and order to a life which can never absolutely have both. The lack of what you and I would call "emotion" was in itself deeply moving, and several times I found myself asking how I would cope if one of my two children had the same difficulties.
This is a remarkable book. If only everyone could read it, society would become a much more understanding and accepting place for those who suffer from the effects of conditions such as Aspergers, ADHD and Autism.
Haddon has created a wonderfully brilliant character. His depiction of Christopher’s world is deeply moving, very funny and utterly convincing. He shows a unique insight into the autistic mind of the unlikely teenage detective who stumbles on everyday normalities as obstacles which further leads him to unearthing secrets that shock and startle him into running away.
What drives Haddon’s tale, however, is his empathy for his protagonist: it might have been easy to make Christopher an amusing suburban hybrid of Forest Gump and Adrian Mole, but the author digs deeper, mining a deeper emotional truth with a rigorous sense of purpose, one expressly devoid of cheap homily. He also knows a damn good page-turner: the emotional beats here are resonant and well deserved, the key plot revelations affecting, and the payoff deeply satisfying.
Although a work of fiction, it is both an educational and vividly honest adaptation of the trails and hurdles that people like Christopher undergo on a daily basis and that most of us are unaware of. A lesson can surely be learned from reading this boy’s curiously different story.Read more ›
However, this review deals with the so-called Children's Edition. Although the text is clear and simple, this is NOT in my opinion a book for children; young adults yes, but not children. The bad language and profanities throughout the text make it unsuitable. I lost count of the amount of times I read the 'F' word and worse. The narrator's mental problem means he remembers everything he sees/hears in detail and can repeat it verbatim. In one passage, he does this with words he sees written on a tube station wall, repeating something I wish no child of mine to read. Doubtless, kids hear language as bad, and worse, every day at school, but that doesn't automatically mean that responsible parents want them reading it at home.
Don't let the bright childlike cover-art on this edition, or the fact it is frequently seen displayed beside Rowling and Snicket, fool you into thinking it is suitable for ages 12 and under. If you are the broad-minded parent of a precocious child, then go ahead; however, discerning parents may wish to check this book out BEFORE ordering a copy for a child. I feel it only fair to make this clear. After all, television programmes that use bad language before the watershed are obliged to broadcast a warning beforehand.
This is already a best-selling adult book. Children aren't children for long; this book will be around for years, they can always read it a year or two later.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found the book made me aware of how difficult people with
Asperger are to deal with. But I found it quite hard going to read.
I stopped for a cup of tea halfway through. I have not read anything in years.Published 1 day ago by winsaunders
I love how the author had written the book in the context as a kind of diary. I also liked how the book didn't have an actual ending; it had a cliff-hanger and at the same time it... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
such a lovely book, I finished it in less that 12 hours just didn't want to miss anything!!Published 9 days ago by Megan M.
This book kept me reading and sympathising with the boy. Lots of good characters that held the interest. Great to have a story of a person with autism overcoming difficulties.Published 10 days ago by Nanshirl
It's a children's book but worth reading for adults. Helps to understand how an autistic mind works. Well writtenPublished 12 days ago by janette reeves