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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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

BOOK review
Started on: 22.August.2012
Finished on: 26.August.2012

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

Title : The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Author : Mark Haddon
Publisher : Vintage Classics
Pages : 272 Pages
Year of Publication : 2012
Price : $10.17 (

Rating: 5/5
I also included a trailer for the National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time below :)
"Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away.
I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all you time thinking about them."
Christopher John Francis Boone, a fifteen year old boy with Asperger's Syndrome. He loves mathematics; he knows every prime number up to 7507 and he could count power of 2s up until 25 which is 33,554,432. Christopher is very good in memorizing things with exact details - he know all the countries of the world and their capital cities; but he hates the colors yellow and brown, hates being touched by strangers; and he cannot tell lies. He live with his Father, and all he knew was that Mother died because of a heart attack.
"Mr Jeavons said that I liked maths because it was safe. He said I liked maths because it meant solving problems, and these problems were difficult and interesting, but there was always a straightforward answer at the end. And what he meant was that maths wasn't like life because in life there are no straightforward answers at the end."
One night, 7 minutes after midngiht, Christopher saw Wellington (Mrs. Shear's dog) died in the garden, stabbed with a garden fork. And so, he decided to write a murder mystery novels, filled with his life experience and research to find out who killed Wellington that night. However, his journey to write the book isn't always smooth, because his Father didn't let him do any more investigation. Until one point, the book he's writing is taken away by his Father and kept hidden in a secret place. But that doesn't mean Christopher would easily give up; he kept looking for his book. Though he finally found it, his book is not the only thing that he found.

The book he write continues; not only investigating the death of Wellington, but through his story the mystery of his family will be revealed. Leaving scars and disappointment in Christopher's innocent heart. Christopher cannot tell lies, and he hates people who didn't tell the truth. So he ran away.
"And this shows that intuition can sometimes get things wrong. And intuition is what people use in life to make decisions. But logic can help you work out the right answer."
image source: here edited by me.
Hopefully I don't spoil anything in the plot summary that I wrote; and I try my best not to write much because I want those who haven't read this book to enjoy the excitement and surprises. This book is indeed one of the greatest books I've ever read. Actually, I accidentally picked up this book at Times Bookstore in Singapore because I finished the book I brought with me. The title sounds very familiar and the cover looks very tempting, so I decided to buy it. In my opinion, this book is very extraordinary because it doesn't have a clear plot like any other fiction books. Even so, I think this books is very remarkable just because of the main character of the story - as well as the storyteller - Christopher Boone. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time definitely has caught my attention right from the very first page :)

Since the story is written in first-person point of view, you could really see and understand what's going on in Christopher's mind and why he did what he did. I am extremely in awe with his character because he is such a genius in mathematics and logic. Thumbs up for Mark Haddon for being able to create such an amazing and realistic character, because for a second I almost thought that this was a 'based on a true story' book. The problem in the story itself, I think focused on Christopher and his family relations. The fact that Christopher found Mrs. Shear's dog died in the garden only lead him to more conflicts related with his family - which then leads him to the revelation about his mother. Indeed, the story is very simple and not complicated; but it brings out deep emotions.

"And this shows that sometimes people want to be stupid and they do not want to know the truth. And it shows that something called Occam's razor is true. And Occam's razor is not a razor that men shave with but a law, and it says: "Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem."
Which is Latin and it means
No more things should be presumed to exist than are absolutely necessary."
Since I don't really know what else to talk about in this review, I'll answer some questions (not all, because some questions would lead to spoilers) from the final pages of the book (in the Think About This... section). I hope by answering these questions, you'll get a better idea about the book and I could express how I love this book through my answers.

1. What do you think of Christopher's deadpan style of narration? Do you think it's funny? Confusing? Shocking?
I definitely love the style of narration! It really shows Christopher's characteristics and way of thinking. Not confusing at all; but yes, it is shocking indeed - because his thoughts are extraordinary, and it's a new knowledge for me.
2. Christopher has many ways of organising the world and making it 'simpler'. Think about his various routines and categories, and think about why Christopher needs them - what do they help him understand and deal with?
He did some things, that some people might find weird or absurd, but looking into his thoughts, those are the things that makes him feel safe and calm. Like when he did the cube puzzle in his mind or counting the prime numbers and so on. Even his habit of making a map inside his head is also to reassure himself that he's in a familiar place. His thoughts are also very logical, which sometimes makes me nod in agreement to the things he said.
"So it is good to have a reason why you hate some things and you like others. It is like being in a restaurant ... and you look at the menu and you have to choose what you are going to have. But you don't know if you are going to like something because you haven't tasted it yet, so you have favourite foods and you choose these, and you have foods you don't like and you don't choose these,
and then it is simple."
3. There are maps and drawings throughout the book, and some of them are brands or signs that you might recognise. Why do you think Mark Haddon included all these images and do you think they help you see things the way Christopher does?
Definitely! At first I thought the pictures in this book only works as illustrations; but unexpectedly those images support the story very well. It doesn't only help me see things the way Christopher does, but it also helps me understand the way he think. The pictures in this book include maps that he draws, his mathematical problem solving and puzzle, even graphs.
"And this means that time is a mystery, and not even a thing, and no one has ever solved the puzzle of what time is, exactly. And so, if you get lost in time it is like being lost in a desert, except that you can't see the desert because it is not a thing.
And this is why I like timetables because they make sure you don't get lost in time."
4. Think about Christopher's relationships with other characters in the book - his father, his mother, Siobhan, his teachers. Who do you think understands Christopher best?
This is a tough question because I love Christopher's relationship with 2 people: Siobhan and his Father. Siobhan (his teacher), knows very well how to deal with Christopher and knows what he needs. She always know how to deliver a message so that Christopher could easily understand it. However, his Father is also someone who cares very much for him and understand Christopher as well. When Christopher didn't believe him anymore, he knows how to slowly approach Christopher and be very patient towards him. Besides the main character, Christopher, I think Father (Ed Boone) will be my favorite character.
"We all make mistakes, Christopher. You, me, your mum, everyone. And sometimes they're really big mistakes. We're only human."
5. Christopher says his book is a mystery story. Do you think there are any mysteries left unsolved at the end of the novel?
At first I thought this book would be a mystery book about who killed the dog, but I only just knew that it isn't limited to that. As I've said, the mystery is also about Christopher's family. And I think there are no mysteries left unsolved at the end of the novel. Even though there are some things about other characters that I'd like to know more, this book already satisfied me very much.
And lastly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is going to be adapted by National Theatre on stage! Actually I was hoping that someday there would be a movie adaptation for this book, because it's really great. I wish I could see it, but I don't know if I'll ever have a chance to do so :'( Hopefully someday it will be available online for me to see it. Below I posted the trailer and some screenshots. It looks very promising and the guy who plays Christopher seems perfect for the character!
*This book is #19 in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die according to this list here. I think it really deserves to be on that list :) Great book!

really long review, huh? sorry :) bye!
by.stefaniesugia♥ .


  1. agreed, this book is one of the greatest books i've ever read as well. the way it is written is so remarkable! touching, and at the end of it, i was so moved that i nearly cried..

  2. Every people who has read it always said that they all are impressed by Christopher. Wow. I guess, I really need to read this ASAP.

    Btw, Stef, posting barengnya bukannya tgl 31 bsk ya?

  3. @made melani: yup, it's really remarkable ^^
    @oky: iyaaa, baca juga ayoo :D:D ini bukan buat posting bareng kokk, cuman kebetulan bru nyadar buku ini ada di list xD

  4. I absolutely loved this book too and really want to see the play. Your review was marvelous too, if you have time I've also reviewed this book, check it out :)


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