The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (221 pages)
"My name is Christopher John Francis Boone. I know all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7,057."
Describing himself, Christopher Boone reveals his vast intelligence, but he fails to descibe his shortcomings. These include screaming or groaning when he is confused or angry, throwing tantrums when there are too many people around, and refusing to touch anything that is brown or yellow. Also, he is unable to understand human emotions, but he can understand animals, causing his preference for animal companionship. This is why, upon finding a neighbor's dog dead with a garden fork sticking out of its side, he decides to find out who murdered it and why.
The word "father" occurs 288 times in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The murdered dog, Wellington, belongs to neighbor Mrs. Shears, who goes from being family friend to unfriendly neighbor when she suspects that Christopher killed her precious poodle. To prove that he is innocent, Christopher dedides to go "detecting" and writes about what he finds out in a book. His father disaproves and makes him promise not to stick his nose in other poeple's business. Despite this, he continues his detecting and finds out that his prime suspect, Mr. Shears, who left his wife two years before, had an affair with Christopher's now-dead mother. When his father finds out that Christopher has discovered this while detecting, he takes away his book and hides it. Christopher goes looking for it and finds it in a box, under which are letters addressed to him that he has never before seen. When he sees who wrote them, he doesn't believe it. His whole world turns upside down when he realizes that the last two years of his life have been a lie. Then, an unexpected confession pushes him over the edge and he runs away.
Taking the subway to what he hopes will be his new home, Christopher faces his fears, from yellow on his ticket to rooms full of unfriendly people. Accompanied by only his rat, chased by the police, and confused by everything around him, Crhistopher manages to survive, but only barely.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is written by a master who manages to transport you to a world of confusion and lies without you even noticing the transition. It is hard to relate to Christopher and his thought processes, but Haddon gives you such splendid descriptions of what exactly is going through Christopher's mind that you feel what he is feeling and think what he is thinking as though you are Christopher himself. It is easy to follow what is going on in the book, perhaps because of Haddon's precise descriptions or the simplicity of Christopher's understanding, and you continue to be interested all the way until the end, even though the mystery is solved by the middle of the novel.
A scenic walk through the mind of a mentally disabled genious, The Curious Incident is a splendid read. Whether you read it in short spurts or a single sit-down, everything that happens will remain imprinted in your mind forever after. A great book for someone wishing to experiance thought processes that they have never before even imagined existing, or imagined and always wanted to experience, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is must-read.