This book is called, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME written by Mark Haddon. It is a book about a boy with a condition who is trying to deal with complex relationships in his family. While dealing with them, he experiences mixed emotions and overcomes his awkwardness of talking to strangers and learns to show empathy and trust – which are difficult for him. Christopher likes two things very much: Math and dogs. The book starts with Christopher wanting to solve the mystery of Who Killed Wellington (the neighbour’s dog) and that changes a big part of his personality and also his life. Because, it  leads him to solve an even bigger mystery in his own life. When he tells his dad that Wellington is dead, his dad gets upset and tells him off for mentioning a person called Mr. Shears. Christopher has a lot of problems but doesn’t know yet that they are all related. In school, Christopher has to write a book and he writes about the mystery he is solving. A while ago, Christopher’s mother ran away with another person because she didn’t think that she was a good mother. She didn’t have time to tell Christopher so left Christopher’s dad in charge of that. Christopher’s dad, being very upset, turned the story upside down and said that Christopher’s mother was dead. One thing that Christopher doesn’t like is lies. Christopher didn’t know the truth so he believed his dad until one fine day Christopher’s dad hid his book so he could not find it. Christopher starts to look for it and lands up in his dad’s room. He finds a number of letters from his mom. After reading them, he realises that his mom is not dead. His dad sees Christopher reading the letters and then tells him that he is sorry and confesses that he was the one who killed Wellington in a fit of anger. Christopher thinks that he can no longer trust his dad and that it is not safe for him to be living with him anymore. So, he packs his stuff and heads to London where his mother is. After a long adventure on trains, he reaches his mom’s new house and sees Mr. Shears  with her. That night, Christopher’s mother makes an important realisation and makes a decision that it wasn’t safe for Christopher and her to live with Mr. Shears. So, Christopher and his mom drive back to Swindon where Christopher’s dad lives and went back to the house. Finally, Christopher and his mom move into a new room and Christopher and his father work on an important project: Learning to trust each other again.
What I like about the book is:
  • I really like the way this book is formatted. Each chapter is a prime number. How interesting! I also like the way illustrations are used to help express what Christopher wants the reader to know
  • One really interesting thing that I find with people who have conditions in books is that they seem to be very fond of prime numbers. In Rain Reign, there was Rose who was obsessed with prime numbers. Prime numbers are special because they are different and can’t be divided by any number except itself or 1. I wonder whether Mark Haddon and other authors who write about autism and other types of conditions may have chosen their characters to like prime numbers because they are different or unique – just like the chracters.
  • This book reminded me of Rain Reign and a little bit of Ella Enchanted too. Rain Reign because Rose, the main character, also has a condition and Ella Enchanted because she has to obey whereas Christopher and Rose don’t like to be ordered.
  • The author really brought the story to life. I was trying to anticipate what would happen next. I flipped through the pages one day and caught a glimpse of the sentence, ‘Father killed Wellington.’. Even though I knew the solution to the mystery but I clung onto the book to read Christopher’s own description and thoughts.
  • This book is also quite tragic. I know that my parents love me, whereas, I think that because Christopher doesn’t like to be touched and doesn’t feel that sense of love that other people feel, he only thinks that his parents love him because he has heard them say it to him before.
  • One of the touching part of the books is when Christopher’s mother chooses her son and sacrifices her relationship with Mr. Shears. It was her love for Christopher that made her sacrifice Mr. Shears and help Christopher. I think that that is very brave.
  • At the back of the book in one of the paragraphs before the praise, there is a line which says ‘Christopher has no understanding of human emotions.’ I disagree with this statement because at times in the book, he leaves his father alone because he knows that he is angry and might start a fight. Also, he understands those emoji signs and how they make people feel. I really think that that line is being unfair to Christopher! (I am standing up for imaginary characters! Wicked!)
  • Finally, FUN TIME! Here are a few questions for young adults who have read the book:
1.    What did Christopher’s father gift Christopher as a present?
2.   What is the name of Christopher’s teacher?
3.   How many prime numbers does Christopher know?
4.   What type of novel is this?
5.   How many letters did Christopher’s mom write to Christopher?
What I think the Author could have done differently:
  • I think the author could have put in less swear words. I was almost not allowed to read this book because of the swear words but then my mom and my tecacher had a chat with me before I was allowed to read the book. Since this is a book that is suppsed to be for adults and children, I think that maybe he could have shown more restraint or care on the language used.