The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Now, that title surely draws your attention, doesn’t it? When R, K’s friend referred to this book as something he has read for over 4 times and gifted to several people, I was just too curious myself ! What was it about the book that made it so popular? The title ?

I did not really ask him what it was all about because I just felt that it would be better if I get curious-er and curious-er and read it myself. R told me that he would give the book to me. But who has the patience? As soon as I saw it at the Popular store in Nex, Serangoon, hiding away under several books, I knew it was waiting for me to pick it up. Not bearing to look at it scream, “Read ME! read ME !”, I gave a beseeching look (the kinds that I have perfected when I want K to buy me something) to K. Whee hee ! I got it. These time-tested methods, I tell you!

And I read it in a couple of train journeys – flat !

R and I were discussing the cover and apparently, the publishers have changed the cover quite a few times – from an embossed dog to a proper dog to an inverted dog shadow and all ! Ya, I like details like that.

Written by Mark Haddon, this is a “mystery” novel. Now the reason I say “mystery” and not mystery is for you to know after you read. I am not spoiling it and be at the receiving end of your curses on a Monday morning. 

This is a narrative in first person perspective. Christopher, aged 15 years thinks of himself as being very logical and loves mathematics for the same reasons. He wishes to write his A -level at this young age and wishes to get into a university. He describes himself as logical and having some behavioural difficulties. Though it is not really underlined, one can infer that Mark Haddon is referring to Asperger Syndrome/ High Functioning Autism (HFA). Christopher is likened to what some refer to as salvants ( people with islands of intelligence) in some research literature.

Christopher writes this story with a purpose. His neighbour, Mrs. Shears’ dog, Wellington, has been killed (forked) and Christopher’s ideal world is disrupted.  He thrives on routine and predictability of events around him. Since he loves Sherlock Holmes (but not Arthur Conan Doyle)  he decides to play sleuth and solve the mystery of who killed Wellington. But what follows is a revelation of sorts.

I loved the book. Mark Haddon does not make this a book on autism. Infact, he writes –

“…..if anything it’s a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way. The book is not specifically about any specific disorder.”

As someone who sees persons with autism on a daily basis, I could relate to certain events and underlying thinking processes on part of Christopher. Mark Haddon does not go overboard anywhere. Neither does he show Christopher as someone to be pitied upon. Infact, you just feel like you are reading a mini-Sherlock‘s life account. The way Christopher narrates it is unique and the importance he attaches to different events and observations is revealing!

Some lines I liked in the context of the book and  post-it-ed as I read —

 People say that you always have to tell the truth. But they do not mean this because you are not allowed to tell old people that they are old and you are not allowed to tell people if they smell funny or if a grown-up has made a fart. And you are not allowed to say “I don’t like you” unless that person has been horrible to you.

 Stupid things are things like emptying a jar of peanut butter onto the table in the kitchen and making it level with a knife so it covers all the table right to the edges, or burning things on the gas stove to see what happened to them, like my shoes or silver foil or sugar.

It is permitted to move the chairs and the table in the kitchen because that is different, but it makes me feel dizzy and sick if someone has moved the sofa and the chairs around in the living room or the dining room. Mother used to do this when she did the hoovering, so I made a special plan of where all the furniture was meant to be and did measurements and I put everything back in its proper place afterward and then I felt better. But since Mother died Father hasn’t done any hoovering, so that is OK. And Mrs. Shears did the hoovering once but I did groaning and she shouted at Father and she never did it again.

This is not a metaphor, it is a simile, which means that it really did look like there were two very small mice hiding in his nostrils, and if you make a picture in your head of a man with two very small mice hiding in his nostrils, you will know what the police inspector looked like. And a simile is not a lie, unless it is a bad simile.

Also, towards the end, as an appendix, Christopher solves a mathematical  problem – I loved it – the way it has been presented and the thought ! 🙂 I kept thinking whether they could make this into a movie at all.     I mean, I don’t know. I don’t feel they can make a movie of THIS book – one cannot capture the thoughts and all of that in print and make it into a movie without losing a lot of essence. I can’t be too sure but I am a bit intrigued by it and am wondering how I would make this into a movie if that was what I was asked to do to save Earth !

And now, leaving you all with a small treat –

And oh! This one has more “quotes” than the ones I have mentioned above.

Hope you like reading this one – it is different and that’s what I liked about it !

Make an inspiring week, you wonderful folks! 🙂


  1. Jas · August 13, 2012

    On my list already. I also heard it from someone that it is really intriguing book 🙂 With your review now I am sure I want it.

  2. kismitoffeebar · August 13, 2012

    Honestly Jas, I thought of you when I read this ! 🙂 Infact, I thought you may have read this one already. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  3. greenboochi · August 13, 2012

    Kismi……… 🙂 I am going.. I am going…I am really going to pick this up! 🙂 But before that, I must complete the other books that I have got.. sis gave me another three tamil books!? I am going to take this entire year to complete them all… but when I am done, I will pick this up 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 13, 2012

      Gb ! Hehehehe – sure thingy dearie 🙂 Pick it up or read the e-book when you can. and wow! 3 Tamil books? I would love to learn to read tamil someday !
      You do have a good pile to work on Gb 🙂 Have fun with them 🙂

  4. Me · August 13, 2012

    Lovely review Toffee…. you have made me curious now… I soooo much want to read this book. Will order it ASAP online and read it. The lines that you highlighted add to curiosity factor already created by the title of the book!

    BTW, loved the new look of your blog. Loved the header sooooo much 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 13, 2012

      Thank you Me 🙂
      Ya, it is a very curious book title no? hehe go ahead and enjaai it 🙂
      Thankee so much dear! 🙂

  5. Me · August 13, 2012

    And Oh! Thank you sooo much for the book….. 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · August 13, 2012

      My pleasure 🙂 Maybe when you feel bored at workplace 😛

  6. The Girl Next Door · August 13, 2012

    Lovely review! The LONG review shows how much you enjoyed the book! 🙂

    I read this one a long time ago… and loved it too. I don’t remember anything about the book now, just that I loved it back then and found it very different and interesting. I haven’t personally known anyone with autism, so the book made me wonder a lot about the life of a person who is afflicted by it.
    I remember, too, about Mark Haddon not going overboard in his description anywhere in the book, and not making Christopher feel like an object of pity.

    I have heard good things about Mark Haddon’s A Spot Of Bother, too. Should pick it up sometime. You should check that one out, too.

    • kismitoffeebar · August 13, 2012

      Thanks TGND ! 🙂

      So cool that you have read it and share similar thoughts ! :)) I love such authors who make their characters powerful for what they are and not what they are not.
      Ah, I have heard of that and must get hold of it. I recently gifted “The Red House” by Mark Haddon to R 🙂 waiting to hear how it is!

  7. Visha · August 13, 2012

    New theme looks good 🙂

    Hmm…I will see if this one is in Blossoms 😀

  8. Destination Infinity · August 13, 2012

    Observation, logic and mathematics seem interesting to me, but it’s fiction. When I come back to fiction, I will read this book for sure.

    There is a movie called, ‘A beautiful mind’ where they present the thoughts of a scientist so well. So, maybe they can make a movie out of this as well!

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · August 13, 2012

      Ya, it is a very interesting book DI ! 🙂 It is as close to non-fiction in some ways! I do hope you get back to fiction 😛

      Ya, have heard of “a beautiful mind” – hmmmm, I must watch it to know if the case is similar 🙂

  9. Atrocious Scribblings · August 13, 2012

    I recollect having read this book ages ago don’t remember much about the plot now. Your post gives me the impression that it had a slowish narrative. Will try to re-read it when I can.

  10. kismitoffeebar · August 13, 2012

    Ah, try it sometime when you can. it is not a great plot whatsoever (that’s what I feel) but it is fun and different, nevertheless. It gets a bit slow but well, still would classify it as “nicely different” 🙂

  11. Bikramjit Singh Mann · August 13, 2012

    hmmm interesting … will check it out for sure sometime

    • kismitoffeebar · August 13, 2012

      Sure Bikram 🙂 and do let us know if you enjoyed it 🙂

  12. Titaxy · August 13, 2012

    I read this book few months ago and so totally loved it. I’ve been recommending it to anyone/everyone I see too. 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 13, 2012

      Ah ! You’ read it ? Cool 🙂 you’d perfectly know how much I loved it ! Now, I am recommending it to everyone toon:)

  13. Srinivas Sundaram · August 13, 2012

    This sounds adding it to my to-read list :-).
    Thanks for the pdf too..

  14. Aa's Mom · August 13, 2012

    I read the book a long time ago, and though I initially enjoyed Christopher’s logic and amazing memory, towards the end of the book it became kind of monotonous. Otherwise, it is a good story.

    • kismitoffeebar · August 14, 2012

      Nice to hear you have read the book AaM 🙂 Now, I join the club of those who had read it 😛

  15. Smita · August 16, 2012

    heard a lot about this one…lemme see when i read it 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 16, 2012

      Ya pls do get hold of it smita. I am looking forward to your review of this one 🙂

  16. allythebell · August 16, 2012

    I read this a few years ago and I absolutely loved it. I’m so glad you enjoyed it too!

    • kismitoffeebar · August 16, 2012

      Heeeellloooo !! 🙂

      Warm welcome here ! It does make for a delightful read. Same pinch !

  17. Paul Troiani · September 6, 2012

    I just want to say I’m newbie to blogging and site-building and honestly enjoyed this page. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You surely have fabulous writings. Appreciate it for sharing your website page.

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