The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
Unabridged AudioBook Read by Jeff Woodman
I used to be able to read quite a lot of books but these days, I find myself to be quite "time-poor" and I've switched to audio books instead. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time has been on my "list of books I want to read for years". I finally got around to "reading" it last week.
Autism in the BookWhile autism is never actually mentioned in the book, the protagonist, fifteen year old Christopher Boone is very clearly on the spectrum. A lot of people have said that he has Asperger's syndrome but it's hard to tell. Little is revealed about Christopher's very early life and while he's clearly "Asperger's" by the time we meet him, there's more than a few lower functioning traits in his behaviour too.
The author, Mark Haddon, has said on a number of occasions that he did little to no research on autism because it's not really intended to be a book on autism. This is very clear from his character, Christopher and in the behaviour of other characters around him.
Christopher is a fifteen year old from the UK who among other things, loves trains (timetables) and yet he doesn't know that the words tube and underground refer to the trains of London. He's brilliant at complex mathematics puzzles and able to talk to strangers when interviewing them but is unable to tell his fellow passenger that he needs to use a toilet on a train.
These things simply don't add up.
The story is interesting and well told but it's not a book about autism. Christopher is just a two-dimensional autism-like character (actually a caricature) and from a certain point of view, this could be considered quite offensive.
SuitabilityWhile the phraseology in the book is quite simple, it's not a book for the very young as it has some very adult themes and strong language.
As I mentioned earlier, it's also a book which treats the subject of autism, albeit undisclosed, in an offensive manner.
Readability and StoryIn terms of the actual story, "the curious incident of the dog in the night time" is quite a good read. It takes a while for the story to start to unfold but when it does, it holds your interest. Christopher's monologues are sometimes interesting but also border on rants at times.
The mystery itself isn't all that difficult to figure out and most people will guess it well before the revelation. The point of interest lies in watching the main character, Christopher, trying to solve the mystery while satisfying all of his own needs and phobias.
Mark Haddon's attempts to explain "autistic behaviours" from the inside are well-intentioned and sometimes touch upon truths but most of the time they feel out of place. The interactions between other characters feel fairly genuine however and while the book never quite manages to be funny, it raises a smile every now and then.
The Audio BookThe AudioBook that I listened to was read by Jeff Woodman, an accomplished narrator with several other books under his belt. He was very clear and easy to listen to and for the most part his vocal inflections from one character to another made the book much more enjoyable than it might have been in print.
There are no special effects or music but in this book they're not really a requirement. The audio recording lasts for about 6 hours.
RecommendationsThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon is an interesting read which will provide you with a short, fun low-key detective story with some interesting and colourful characters. It may tell you a lot about autism but you'll find it hard to separate the truth from fiction, so it can't be relied upon as a source of truth.
Remember; if you've met one person on the spectrum.... you've met ONE person on the spectrum.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon is available in most bookshops and online as a book; including Goodreads, Amazon and Google Play. Amazon also has it as a Kindle book or an Audio Book.
You can also get the Audio Book on AudioBooks.com or Kobo. The print book is available on the Apple store but the Apple audio book appears to be read by someone else. There's also a play version of the book around, so make sure that the author actually is Mark Haddon.