Genre: Contemporary, “Mystery”
Type: Stand Alone
POV: First person & Single
Date Published: July 31, 2003
“The curious incident of the dog in the night-time is a murder mystery like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.”
Disclaimer: I am a psychology student, which has given me more insight into mental illness in general. However, I do not claim to know everything about mental illness and I know that everyone has a different experience with it.
When I give a 2-star rating to a book it means it wasn’t for me. I rate my books based on how much they met my expectations, not how ‘good’ they are. I do this because I think good/bad ratings highly depend on what you want from a book and are therefore subjective. In my reviews, I explain why a book did or didn’t meet my expectations and try to specify which people might like or dislike it. You can find more information about my rating scale here.
As I said, this book is by no means a bad book. First I would like to address that I study psychology, going into my third year now. I am by no means an expert yet, but I would say I have a pretty good perspective on if a mental illness is accurately portrayed (keeping in mind of course that there is never ONE exact way, but a basic outline). So let’s actually start with some good stuff. I think that Asperger’s Syndrome was actually very well portrayed through Christopher in this book. It really shows that the author of this book is very well educated on the matter. Something to take into consideration though if you think about picking this up, the fact that it is an accurate portrayal of a person with Asperger’s Syndrome can make it a tough read for some. In the story Christopher writes a book, and the book we read is the book he has written. This makes it really only his thoughts that we see. The writing style is childlike, very simple and straight to the point because that’s the way his mind works. There are also a lot of technical parts about how things work or the history of it. Christopher enjoys facts and technical stuff, so he writes about it a lot. These aspects are what makes the book accurate, but it can be a hit or miss for readers. Christopher as a character was very endearing. There were a lot of illustrations of something Christopher saw and some supporting the science he was talking about, these were a nice touch.
On to the things that made me not enjoy this book. First of all, this book is advertised as “a murder mystery like no others”. I want to read a lot of books about mental illness, but that like of the synopsis is what really drew me to this one. I have to admit that one the mystery part of this book, I am very disappointed. Of course the most important part of this book is spreading awareness about Asperger’s syndrome, but if murder mystery is advertised I expect something. The mystery is uncovered very early and it really didn’t take much to find out. It was more about the aftermath of discovering the mystery than the mystery itself.
The mystery aspect was just a disappointment, now onto something that just annoyed me so much throughout the book. The parents (and pretty much all adult figures except for the school counselor) are so freaking irresponsible! They didn’t handle Christopher well and they didn’t even handle anything else well. Especially his dad made me angry. This irresponsible behavior resulted in the plot line being a little crazy. I just found myself being like “Really..?!?”. Finally, the ending felt rushed to me.
So overall, for me, I enjoyed the writing style because it was really accurate, but I was disappointed about the mystery aspect, and the other characters and plot line weren’t for me.
Have you read this book?
If so, how did you like it?
If not, do you want to?