A New Perspective on Autism to Enlighten Your Summer: A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

Ashley Kim, Writer

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Christopher Boone of Swindon, England is not your average fifteen year old. He hates the colors yellow and brown. He cannot lie. He takes everything literally – even simple idioms and metaphors. He knows all of the countries of the world and their capitals and all the prime numbers up to 7507. He is fond of dogs, so he only ventures out from his house when a neighbor’s black Poodle was stabbed that night. This is the start of this ingenious book: a murder mystery written by the main character – Christopher – himself.

Being a murder mystery, his story had a well-developed plot and great narration. It drew you in by its first sentence: “It was 7 minutes after midnight.” It not only docuemented the mystery, but also all of the little details of Christopher’s adventures across his neighborhood to find the culprit.

But it’s not just a murder mystery. It’s a story about an autistic boy who copes with the world in a different way that the rest of us do. Haddon beautifully illustrates autism (in a mathematical savant sense) in this story. He describes the observations and the thoughts of an autistic child very well, especially one such as Christopher. Haddon gives us a little window into the world of their thoughts. However, his portrayal of the syndrome can seem a bit one-sided, as autism is a spectrum disorder. It affects different people in different ways.

Ever since I read this book, it was one of my favorites. Even if Christopher is autistic, he is relatable. Everyone has felt socially awkward or confused at some point in their life. We all hate some random things for no reason. We all like some random things for no reason. Plus, just like Christopher, I’m fond of dogs as well.

Secondly, everyone who treats someone differently or badly because they are ‘different’ should read this novel, as it shows that ‘different’ people have thoughts and feelings too. They may not understand some things, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve your respect.

Ultimately, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is one of my favorite books of all time because it has all of the components to be great – a relatable main character, a fascinating plot, and a message for the world.

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