"The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears' house. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog."
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger's, a form of autism. 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.
Please Note: this title starts at Chapter 2. The main character has a preference for prime numbers, so he numbers his chapters according to primes: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11 etc.
©2003 Mark Haddon; (P)2003 Random House Audiobooks
"A beautifully written book.... Warm and often funny" (Daily Telegraph [London])
A decade of listening.
The book is great. The story well done. The narration? Not so much. Quality is good, but somewhere between the printed word and the audio, someone just didn't "get it." I suspect the author would be quite upset at the cringeworthy slip-ups in his story. For example, the main character, who lives with some sort of autistic spectrum disorder, says that he counts powers of two in his head to calm himself, and "got up to 33,554,432, which is two hundred and twenty-five." That was allowed, despite making no sense to either the narrator or the producer. What was no doubt written was "two to the power of twenty-five." Also, the chapters are all meant to be prime-numbered. How on Earth is there a Chapter 176 in the audio version, then? Another case of not "getting" it. If you want to hear a good story, but this lack of attention to detail would irritate you, just hold your breath and count to 32,768, which is 215.
First of all, let me say that the performance is outstanding. Absolutely wonderful dramatization! Let’s cut to the conclusion and you decide if you want to continue reading this review. I liked it and it was definitely worth a read. I just gave it three stars because the author could have done a much better job developing the plot.
Now let’s jump to the full review.
The book is told from the point of view of a child with Asperger’s syndrome (not mentioned in the book). First person point of view means that the book will not have a whole lot of description; the author loses the ability of showing instead of telling, but it works just fine in this book.
Unless you are one of those people who hate society’s “mollycoddling” of children with disabilities, you will immediately side with Christopher and find that he is a very likeable little guy. I enjoyed his story telling style, even if at times he got repetitive due to his autistic obsessions.
The book starts when Wellington the dog gets murdered with a garden fork, and Christopher decides to investigate the case, getting in trouble in the process. The murder mystery takes about half the book. The problem is that, by the time you reach half the book, the murder mystery ends and Christopher embarks on a journey to find his dead mother. Is she really dead? Is she still alive? Those are good questions and make for an interesting plot, but the AUTHOR ENDS UP WITH TWO STORIES HALF BAKED: neither the murder mystery is properly developed, nor the story about Christopher’s mother!
To make matters worse, the author exploits Christopher’s disability by making him engage in highly anti-social behavior and putting extremely dangerous sociopathic ideas into his head, which Christopher will gladly share with you. Like the book, this strategy works only half way: On one hand, the tension increases as the reader worries about the Christopher’s safety and the wellbeing of his potential victims. On the other hand, Christopher ends up losing the good will of the reader. Christopher slowly becomes an UNLIKEABLE character. And that is a near-fatal flaw in this book.
By the time you reach three quarters of the book, NONE of the characters are likeable. You do want to know how the story ends, after all you ended up investing four hours of your life, and a credit, and you did enjoy most of the listening experience. While you still want the book to have a good ending, the reality is that you do not care that much what happens to them.
I feel “The Curious Incident…” could have been a great book, if the author would have chosen to develop the murder mystery further, and given up on the story about finding his mother. It would have been a better story and the plot would have aligned better with the title. Christopher’s anti-social side shouldn’t have been exposed so much as to make him unlikeable. Not to mention, that gives autistic children a bad name, and they are very sweet children.
Do I recommend it? If I had a penny for every book where the first half is great and the second half sucks, I’d be rich, so go for it. Besides, the second half doesn’t suck, it just could have been better. And the performance is great. As the tittle of the review indicates, yes, I recommend it.
This is my first audio novel and I loved it!! I listened when I got time and I ended up with loving this little boy, Christopher a lot! I was so moved and realized how this easy read novel can achieve so many things to readers. I appreciate the Audible.com and the author and the young narrator Ben Tibber. You gave me a great joy in a while ;)
Mike Hadden's front of seat suspense that I had me using my Tom Tom and car as frequently as possible.
Brilliance and Obsession
I loved the humour although Christopher has no sense of humour. He's very intelligent about his Aspergers and knows exactly what he likes and doesn't like.
Christopher - the maths genius and the detective.
I wouldn't change it. Fifteen year old Christopher who attends a special school and as Asperger's Syndrome, wrote the book. Any title that he didn't choose would be wrong.
Mark Haddon knows this syndrome extremely well and it is an entertaining story that also helps when we come across people who are fixated on things at times. Patience is the first attribute to call upon. Clear and precise honesty are required when interacting with a person like Christopher and this story presents the unfortunate consequences of misunderstandings and the need for absolute truth.
This book is one of those that starts you off slowly...almost turned it off at one point and gave up. It is an amazing insight into the mind of a child who has aspergers and you really see and understand him. He takes you into his logical mind and explains everything from his perspective. Absolutely fantastic. Didn't want my car journeys to end!
"An excellent book"
I had this book recommended by a friend, although she had read it hard copy rather than the audio version. I was somewhat wary of the book to be honest as I have an autistic son, and wondered how exactly it would unfold, would it make those who suffer from autism sound like weirdos? Would it just caricature them? Instead what I got was a superb piece of writing which gives anyone who does not know someone who is autistic a view of the world they try to make sense of in a sensitive manner. The book isn't really there to explore autism but does give a perspective that non-sufferers can understand. I can identify with the characters that are well written and believable and I found myself really caring for the them and wanting things to work out, for my money the true mark of a writer is how good they are in creating engaging characters and I must admit I felt that Mark Haddon excels in this. Any audiobook is only as good as the narrator and I felt that Ben Tibber was first class. Thanks to both the author and narrator, I really enjoyed this book.
"great book & reader, annoying musical interludes"
this is a really great book, and mark haddon is an excellent reader. the only problem i have with it is the grating musical interludes which are meant to signal separate parts of the text - breaks between chapters or something. my problem with these are as follows: 1) they are irritating little earworms which sound like they have been played with one finger on a very early model Casio organ, or one of those novelty electronic keyboard-kazoo instruments, set to 'Oboe' 2) as it is not possible to ascertain what exactly they are meant to be signaling, a simple brief silent pause would do just as well. audio book listeners are not idiots, if the sound goes quiet for a moment we are not going to think the download is broken
3) they jar horribly with the mood of the book and cumulatively threaten to ruin it
do not let this put you off- the book is really, really good and this is otherwise a great recording - i'm writing this in the hope that whoever makes these books will cease and desist from horrid little 'innovations' like this that are meant to guide and/or enhance- but in fact have a highly detrimental impact on- the listening experience
"Original, entertaining and insightful"
What a great audiobook! And the dramatisation makes it come to life ? much better than just reading. The main character and narrator Christopher is a delightful creation and the supporting characters are all really well drawn. The book provides an absorbing and believable insight into the mind of a child with Asperger?s and helped me to understand a little more of the challenges of living with this condition and how family members cope. It is simultaneously heart-warming, witty and sad.
"A great audiobook"
Untill i started listening to the audiobook i had no idea what it was about. For the benefit of others I will say its a first person account of the thoughts of an autistic boy which are sotiimes amusing, sometimes surprising, sometimes totally insane- but always honestly potraying what it must be to suffer from such a socially disabling disease and its implications for his family and society. Where the book excels is the excellent full cast narration - you can feel the warmth and emotions of all the characters. There is some background music appropriate to the narration, its reasonably fast paced and leaves you with some basic human values to reflect on.
This was my first audiobook. It will be hard to beat though, the young reader made you relate to the vulnerability of the character 'Christopher'.
The way the story made listeners understand the difficulties that people with aspergers and those around them are affected.
Yes if I had time I would have listened all at once.
At first was sceptical with having a son with aspergers. A good friend recommended and so I bought this title. This was well put together and didn't humiliate persons with this condition but empathises and educates those with no or little understanding of ASD. I would recommend anyone to read/listen to this book. I thought the child that read the part of Christopher was a good choice and helped you realise the vulnerability and reminded you of his age. Excellent
"Beautifully produced. Wonderfully read"
Beautifully produced. Wonderfully read by young Mark Haddon. Although much younger that the main character it communicates his moving innocence
I loved that it was narrated by a young boy, making it original and different right from the start. It is made for both young and older listeners also .
The beginning part was memorable where he finds the dog.
I think that being read by a young person makes you remember that the character is young and quite vulnerable.
Some parts were quite shocking and made you wonder how would you react if you met someone like this, or whiteness him doing some of the actions he did.
I strongly recommend getting this audio book, it's unique and you won't want it to finish.
"Not what I expected"
This book is really very interesting, I have an autistic grandson - and it is really fascinating to hear about the way that the autistic mind works. I recognised so much of this child's behaviour.
I find it fascinating that the author can be SO aware of this mindset, he must have close experience.
I do realise that there was no mention of autism in the novel, but it is apparent that this is the factor involved.
I enjoyed the whole experience of the book
The insight it provides into the mind of Christopher.
I wondered about having a non-adult as prime narrator, but it works really, really well. Ben is a great reader and helps the story come alive.
I read the paper version in one sitting, and I would have liked to listen to it in one sitting. But I wouldn't like to listen to it in one sitting, because although I wanted to hear more, I also wanted it to last longer.
I would thoroughly recommend this book. I thought I knew about autism (I have an Asperger's son) but this book opened my eyes to so much more.
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