The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003)
Written by Mark Haddon

I first had to read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as the realistic fiction book for the children’s literature class that helped inspire this blog. Then I had to read it again as part of my special education class two semesters later. Lucky for me, it is a highly enjoyable book that is worth reading more than once! I remember when I first got the book for my class, and I set out to skim it quickly and see what it was about. I ended up reading the entire book cover to cover that day, before the semester had even began, and at the end of the semester I did not even think for a moment about selling it back to the college because I knew that I wanted it in my personal collection.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time explores a part of the life of a child with special needs through the eyes of that child. The book is written as though the boy, Christopher, had written it himself. Without it ever being stated it is made obvious that Christopher is both very intelligent, and very challenged. With just a limited amount of knowledge in special disorders the reader can assume that Christopher is challenged by a disorder on the Autism spectrum. Even if the reader is not able to figure out what the disorder that affects Christopher is, they are able to understand that despite being highly skilled in math and science, Christopher has a hard time understanding how to properly communicate and interact with other people.

The story begins with Christopher finding that his neighbor’s dog has been killed, and escalates into a real mystery in which Christopher finds out a secret about his life. The reader is really able to understand the difficulties that come with Christopher’s life, not only for Christopher himself but for his father, mother, teachers, and even the police officers who interact with him. There is also a real feel of forgiveness and love in this story, even though it is presented in a way that may see different to many people.

This book is not a difficult read, but the age range that would be best suited for this story is strong to advanced readers. Children in junior high and high school will best understand what is going on as well as have more of an enjoyment of this story. I also would recommend this book to any adult who may have any interactions with children who have Autism, such as parents and teachers. Although this book was written for children, it will be enjoyable to adults as well.

Content- B
Illustrations- n/a
Readability- A

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