The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

“I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.

Christopher Boone is 15-years old. He loves math, Indian food, the color red and animals, especially his pet rat. He hates metaphors, being touched, going someplace new and the color yellow. And he’s determined to solve a mystery just like Sherlock Holmes in his favorite book “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” His mystery also involves a dog. Christopher wants to figure out who killed his neighbor’s dog Wellington.

Although it’s never explicitly stated in the book, Christopher is autistic. He loves math and science, because for all their complications, there’s always a correct answer. Dealing with people is harder. He’s not capable of deciphering people’s confusing and often contradictory facial expressions. One of his teachers keeps trying to explain this to him, but it makes no sense to him.

“Siobhan also says that if you close your mouth and breathe out loudly through your nose it can mean that you are relaxed, or that you are bored, or that you are angry and it all depends on how much air comes out of your nose and how fast and what shape your mouth is when you do it and how you are sitting and what you just said before and hundreds of other things which are too complicated to work out in a few seconds.”

Pretty soon, Christopher’s investigation causes him to stumble upon bigger secrets. I don’t want to say more but I did love how it ended. Christopher would approve of what looked like a neat and happy ending, but those of us able to read people get that the happy ending is an illusion, and another storm is brewing behind the scenes.

I would recommend this book to anyone. It’s truly unique in its protagonist, alternating between hilarity and emotional gut punches. Christopher may be trying to figure out who killed Wellington, but it’s we who are solving the mystery; by using Christopher’s throwaway lines we’re seeing the lies, grief and unimaginable decisions that defined the lives of the people around him.

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