Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Curious Incident of the Dog, by Mark Haddon

I finished The Curious Incident of the Dog today. While I did enjoy reading it, I can't understand why it's so huge.

The character of the autistic boy was well done, but I didn't like the adult characters at all. They just continually use the 'F' word with each other. I wish the author could have given us a bit more diversity when describing their characters.

Plus the plot I found a bit weird. The father of the autistic boy, Christopher, kills the dog of the title. Basically, he kills the dog out of sexual jealousy. You see, his wife had run off with a neighbour's husband, and so he took out all his frustration on the poor dog, which belonged to the wife of the man who ran off with Christopher's mother (does that make sense??). Strange, I know. And it doesn't exactly make him a likable character.

Anyhoo, the father also lies to his son, telling him that his mother actually died of a heart attack, all the while keeping secret letters that she had written to Christopher.

Christopher finds out about these letters while investigating the dead dog. Soon the secret is out and Christopher is on his way to London to find his mother.

The book calls itself a mystery, but the father blurts out half way through the book that he killed the dog, and that is that. We aren't given that much detail or depth about why a man would kill a dog with a gardening tool.

The feel good part is the end, where Christopher triumphs over his adversity. I think the book uses a pretty common ruse - the simpleton who is very smart. All the way through the book Christopher balks at being touched - making us want to reach out to him.

An enjoyable enough read though. Based on its current success I imagine a movie and follow up books and god knows what else.


Giddy London said...

Hi Chris Glad you enjoyed it. I thought its main strength was the convincing and well sustained portrayal of a very different perspective on the world, ie. that of the Aspergers sufferer. I agree that the other characters were not necessarily likeable, but I thought that made it all the more realistic, and made me even more sorry for the boy, stuck with all those idiot adults. Wonder if a film would work?

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