The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon is about an Autistic boy named Christopher whose mother recently left his father and ran away with the neighbor’s husband. When the neighbor’s poodle ends up dead on the front lawn, Christopher takes it upon himself to be the neighborhood Sherlock Holmes and solve the mystery.
The story is less about Christopher’s autism and more about a child’s view of right and wrong. Christopher believes his mother is in the “hospital”. He insists on visiting her and his father tells him she is dead. Christopher is heartbroken and focuses all of his efforts on his crime solving novel regarding the neighbor’s poodle. He is told repeatedly to let go of the mystery of the dog’s death, but Christopher simply cannot sleep with a killer on the loose.
Christopher is enraged when he finds stacks of letters from his mother hidden under his father’s bed. All of the letters are to Christopher, telling him she’s alright and living with Mr. Shears (the neighbor’s husband). He confronts his father, who also owns up to the murder of the dog. Christopher is in a rage and runs away from home. He travels by train all alone to visit his mother and ends up sitting outside her house all day awaiting her arrival.
His mother returns and is so happy to see him! She cannot believe that Christopher’s father told him she was dead. Christopher is afraid of his father and ends up moving into an apartment with just his mother. His father is granted daily visits, but Christopher remains afraid of him.
The novel ends with Christopher’s father bringing him his very own puppy and allowing him to name it. He promises to work on mending his relationship with Christopher, no matter how long it takes.
I thought the story was interesting and new. There were slow parts where I definitely considered stopping, but I’m glad I finished the novel. The parents are trying to raise Christopher well despite their own relationship problems, but I really just did not like either of the parents. I think Christopher is the only character with his morals in the right place. Interesting novel, though not what I would call fun. Worth reading, but not a favorite!