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The curious incident of the dog in the night-time /

Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.

Main Author: Haddon, Mark.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Vintage Contemporaries, 2004
Edition: 1st Vintage Contemporaries ed.
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Review by Booklist Review

The hero of Haddon's debut novel is 15-year-old Christopher Boone, an autistic math genius who has just discovered the dead body of his neighbor's poodle, Wellington. Wellington was killed with a garden fork, and Christopher decides that, like his idol Sherlock Holmes, he's going to find the killer. Wellington's owner, Mrs. Shears, refuses to speak to Christopher about the matter, and his father tells him to stop investigating. But there is another mystery involving Christopher's mother, who died two years ago. So why does Siobhan, Christopher's social worker, react with surprise when Christopher mentions her death? And why does Christopher's father hate Mrs. Shears' estranged husband? The mystery of Wellington's death begins to unveil the answers to questions in his own life, and Christopher, who is unable to grasp even the most basic emotions, struggles with the reality of a startling deception. Narrated by the unusual and endearing Christopher, who alternates between analyzing mathematical equations and astronomy and contemplating the deaths of Wellington and his mother, the novel is both fresh and inventive. --Kristine Huntley

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive "theory of mind" by which most of us sense what's going on in other people's heads. When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns ("4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don't speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don't eat my lunch and Take No Risks"). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. Though Christopher insists, "This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them," the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice. (June 17) Forecast: Considerable buzz abroad-rights sold in Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the U.K.-and a film deal (rights bought by Hey Day, the makers of Harry Potter) augur well for this engaging debut. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. He does not like to be touched, hates yellow and brown, and begins screaming when confronted with unfamiliar circumstances. Nevertheless, he has an affinity for mathematics and science and almost total recall of anything he has read, heard, or seen. Life with his father is relatively routine until Christopher finds a neighbor's dog that was killed with a garden tool. Because of his compulsion to solve puzzles and his fondness for Sherlock Holmes, Christopher sets out, against his father's objections, to find out who killed the dog, with unexpected repercussions. Haddon, who published 15 children's books before writing his first adult novel, captures without sentimentality the joy and pain of this unusual childhood. Just as remarkable as Christopher's story is the masterful performance by Jeff Woodman, whose voice and tone are totally convincing as those of a working-class English adolescent. Highly recommended for all collections.-Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-When a teen discovers his neighbor's dog savagely stabbed to death, he decides to use the deductive reasoning of his favorite detective to solve the crime. Employing Holmesian logic is not an easy task for even the cleverest amateur sleuth and, in Christopher's case, it is particularly daunting. He suffers from a disability that causes, among other things, compulsive behavior; the inability to read others' emotions; and intolerance for noise, human touch, and unexpected events. He has learned to cope amazingly well with the help of a brilliant teacher who encourages him to write a book. This is his book-a murder mystery that is so much more. Christopher's voice is clear and logical, his descriptions spare and to the point. Not a word is wasted by this young sleuth who considers metaphors to be lies and does math problems for relaxation. What emerges is not only the solution to the mystery, but also insight into his world. Unable to feel emotions himself, his story evokes emotions in readers-heartache and frustration for his well-meaning but clueless parents and deep empathy for the wonderfully honest, funny, and lovable protagonist. Readers will never view the behavior of an autistic person again without more compassion and understanding. The appendix of math problems will intrigue math lovers, and even those who don't like the subject will be infected by Christopher's enthusiasm for prime numbers and his logical, mathematical method of decision making.-Jackie Gropman, Chantilly Regional Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Britisher Haddon debuts in the adult novel with the bittersweet tale of a 15-year-old autistic who's also a math genius. Christopher Boone has had some bad knocks: his mother has died (well, she went to the hospital and never came back), and soon after he found a neighbor's dog on the front lawn, slain by a garden fork stuck through it. A teacher said that he should write something that he "would like to read himself"--and so he embarks on this book, a murder mystery that will reveal who killed Mrs. Shears's dog. First off, though, is a night in jail for hitting the policeman who questions him about the dog (the cop made the mistake of grabbing the boy by the arm when he can't stand to be touched--any more than he can stand the colors yellow or brown, or not knowing what's going to happen next). Christopher's father bails him out but forbids his doing any more "detecting" about the dog-murder. When Christopher disobeys (and writes about it in his book), a fight ensues and his father confiscates the book. In time, detective-Christopher finds it, along with certain other clues that reveal a very great deal indeed about his mother's "death," his father's own part in it--and the murder of the dog. Calming himself by doing roots, cubes, prime numbers, and math problems in his head, Christopher runs away, braves a train-ride to London, and finds--his mother. How can this be? Read and see. Neither parent, if truth be told, is the least bit prepossessing or more than a cutout. Christopher, though, with pet rat Toby in his pocket and advanced "maths" in his head, is another matter indeed, and readers will cheer when, way precociously, he takes his A-level maths and does brilliantly. A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash. Copyright ┬ęKirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.