“Its eyes were closed. It looked as if it were running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead.” Mark Haddon’s beautifully written book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, was the best realistic fiction/murder mystery novel I have come across. Out of five stars, I would rate this novel a 4.5, but only because there are some paragraphs that get confusing.
Christopher, a fifteen year old boy with behavioral issues, lives alone with his father and his pet rat, Toby, in Europe. Christopher chooses to begin a quest to investigate the mysterious death of his neighbor’s dog, Wellington. But a series of events in Christopher’s investigation leads him to uncover secrets that make him question everything — including the lie he has been living. Christopher tries to find a place where he trusts the people around him, where he can be safe. He leaves the comfort of his home, the thirty sixth house on his street, and travels to London, in search of a long lost friend. Mark Haddon managed to sprinkle a bit of humor in a book with a serious topic. An example of this humor is on page 102 when Christopher describes his day, “On the first day, which was a Wednesday, Joseph Fleming took his trousers off and went to the toilet all over the floored the changing room and started to eat it, but Mrs. Davis stopped him.” This is humorous even though it is a serious situation. This book is also suspenseful, like on page 163, when Christopher is hiding from the police, “And then the train started to slow down and someone came and stood near the shelf and knocked on the door of the toilet, and it was the policeman and he said, ‘Christopher…? Christopher…?’ and then he opened the door of the toilet and said, ‘Bloody h***,’ and he was really close so I could see his walkie-talkie and his truncheon on his belt and I could smell his aftershave, but he didn't see me and I didn't say anything because I didn't want him to take me to Father.”
This book is one of a kind, which makes it very difficult for me to compare it to other books or movies, but Mark Haddon does have other published novels such as, The Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea: Poems, A Spot of Bother, and The Red House. I have written several book reviews and I have even received an Editor’s Choice Award on the website dogobooks.com on my book review for If I Stay. If you enjoy reading mystery books that tug at your attention, or a serious book that manages to be humorous, or a book that is slightly sad, you will enjoy The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nighttime.