Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is more or less considered a modern classic these days, so it is somewhat surprising that this one managed to pass me by until recently. Sure, I remember hearing about it when it was released (about fifteen years ago,) and I've seen it included many times on various top 100 book lists, reading challenges and there always seems to be a copy for sale at my usual reading haunts, but for one reason or another, I never bought a copy. In fact, I don't think I ever even picked up a copy until a couple of weeks ago, when I saw it sitting on the shelves at my local Vinnies, and decided that it looked more interesting than the other books on offer. (To explain, the book section at my local Vinnies isn't terribly big.) Anyway, what a joy reading this book turned out to be.

Fifteen-year-old Christopher is book smart, has a photographic memory and understands many complex mathematical problems. What he does not understand is people and how to relate to them. When he discovers that a neighbour's dog has been murdered, however, he decides to put his own detective skills to use, which leads to an unexpected adventure and reveals some surprising--and hurtful--truths ...

This book was short, deceptively simple and overall very well done. It was interesting to get inside the mind of a teenager whose differences mean that he can put a different spin on even the most mundane of situations. Obviously, we're starting to see more and more of this type of literature--it was only a couple of weeks ago that I reviewed My Life is an Alphabet, and earlier in the year I reviewed Counting by 7s, both of which have similar themes. However, something about this one stands out--possibly because Christopher is in a situation where he is not considered to be as high functioning as the protagonists of the other two novels. The author does not gloss over some of the ugly parts of Christopher's life--the having to be in a class full of special needs kids, despite the fact that he has the intelligence to be doing university level classes, the way that he is misunderstood by many others, including the police and what this leads to. 

My only regret with this one is that I did not read it much sooner.

Highly recommended (if you haven't read it already.)


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