Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time


I have been meaning to read this book for quite some time. I have NO IDEA why it took me so long to read! It is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. As a speech pathologist who works with students with autism, I should have read it years ago. However, I am glad I read it recently because it gave me something to read when I was on a plane last week.

This book is narrated by a 15 year old boy named Christopher who has Asperger's syndrome. He has fantastic math skills, likes everything to be in perfect order, cannot tell a lie, and despises the color yellow. One day, Christopher discovers that someone has murdered a dog in his neighborhood and he is determined to figure out who committed the crime. He decides to write a book describing the case. The writing of this book is what sparks a mystery in Christopher's own life. He discovers secrets that change his life forever.

I love this book because the story would be memorable even if the narrator did not have autism. What gives it that extra something is that he does. Christopher does not naturally pick up on facial expressions, sarcasm, tones of voice, or audible declarations of emotion (e.g., sighing) which are many of the things that we as readers require from the narrator to set a tone. We need the narrator to give us not only dialogue, but descriptions of characters' facial expressions and speaking tones so we create an image in our mind's eye and feel what the characters are feeling. In this book, being inside Christopher's head made this a different experience. Many individuals with autism base their observations of human behavior on what they see, not what they interpret. They are very fact oriented. Although he does not use feeling words to describe his emotions, Christopher is able to provide the reader with enough description to gain some insight on how he is feeling. Throughout the story of the dog murder mystery we learn about his dysfunctional family. His parental relationships are complicated at best and how Christopher experiences this is quite enthralling, emotional and moving.

I recommend this book to EVERYONE. If you haven't read it, go get it. I will not let you borrow mine because this book will remain on my shelf for years to come.

1 comment:

  1. It has been 7-8 years since I've read this.... Next time I am home I'm going to pick it up to re read. Great review!