The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

By Mark Haddon,

Book cover of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Book description

Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year

'Outstanding...a stunningly good read' Observer

'Mark Haddon's portrayal of an emotionally dissociated mind is a superb achievement... Wise and bleakly funny' Ian McEwan

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective,…

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Why read it?

20 authors picked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is one of the best novels about autism I’ve read, even though the author and publisher insist the main character’s condition is not necessarily autism.

The author, Mark Haddon, wisely chooses to show us the world exclusively through the eyes of a teenage British boy named Christopher who is afflicted with the dark gift. Because autistic brains are always trying to figure things out, always scrutinizing and analyzing the world in our own idiosyncratic way, Haddon turns the boy’s encounter with a dead dog into a detective story.

One night, Christopher finds a neighbor’s dog dead in the yard…

I taught primary school children for many years, including children with a variety of learning difficulties.

It just so happened that at the time I was reading The Curious Incident I was also teaching a young boy with autistic spectrum disorder. The main character in the novel, Christopher Boone, shared so many character traits with the boy in my class that I pictured him the whole way through.

It’s not easy to write about neurodivergent people, you have to get it right as the last thing you want to do is patronize or stereotype. In my opinion, the author did…

Christopher Boone is a boy who loves mathematics. Numbers and patterns make sense to him – they don’t tell lies like people do.

When his neighbour’s dog is found dead, he decides to investigate, using pure logic like his hero Sherlock Holmes. It’s clear that Christopher is neurodiverse in some way, he’s possibly autistic, but (and I really like this about the book) no specific label is given.

This is a conscious choice by the author because there is no “typical” autistic person – as Mark Haddon says, they are as large and diverse a group as any other group…

From Sarah's list on mathematician characters.

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

By Manni Coe, Reuben Coe (illustrator),

Book cover of Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

Manni Coe Author Of Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a gay man born into an evangelical Christian family, my coming out story was wrought with pain, trauma, and separation from family and loved ones. In the same year I lost my best friend in an accident. My world tumbled and I had to crawl back to a place of reckoning. Walking became my path to healing. So when my brother Reuben, who has Down's syndrome sent me a message from the isolation of a care home in the pandemic, I knew he was in trouble. Those five words - ´brother. do. you. love. me.´changed our lives. I thought I might know a way to save him.

Manni's book list on memoirs that capture the struggle of everyday life

What is my book about?

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me. is a true story of brotherly love overcoming all. Reuben, who has Down's syndrome, was trapped in a care home during the pandemic, spiralling deeper into a non-verbal depression. From isolation and in desperation, he sent his older brother Manni a text, "brother. do. you. love. me."

This cry for help, this SOS in the sand unleashed a brotherly love that had Manni travelling back to the UK mid-pandemic to rescue his brother from the care home, and together they sheltered from the world in a cottage in deepest, darkest Dorset. There began a journey of recovery and rediscovery. Little by little, the brothers had to piece back together Reuben's world, help him to find his voice and find ways for him to trust the world again. This is a book about care, about Down's syndrome, about love. It is a story of resilience and patience in a world that Reuben thought had abandoned him.

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

By Manni Coe, Reuben Coe (illustrator),

What is this book about?

The story of two brothers, one with Down syndrome, and their extraordinary journey of resilience and repair.

"Profoundly moving and hugely uplifting."—Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Reuben, aged 38, was living in a home for adults with learning disabilities. He hadn’t established an independent life in the care system and was still struggling to accept that he had Down syndrome. Depressed and in a fog of antidepressants, he hadn’t spoken for over a year. The only way he expressed himself was by writing poems or drawing felt-tip scenes from his favorite musicals…

I know this probably feels like an obvious recommendation, since it’s on every list imaginable, but I love this novel.

The narrator is autistic and funny and brilliant and wonderful and heartbreaking, and you root for him from beginning to end. The ways in which he limits his life by having rules and then breaks them when he wants to solve his mystery show both how important routine can be for someone overwhelmed by life’s chaos, and also how much this character cares about the people in his life. 

I took all of our kids to see the play based…

"This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them. This is a murder mystery," the young narrator tells us. It begins with a brutal death by stabbing; fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is arrested for killing Wellington, the neighbor’s poodle. Normally I don’t read murder mysteries. I don’t really care who done it – after all, the author holds all the cards and sets up the clues. Mark Haddon’s mystery is different. True, the author holds all the cards, but he tells the story through an Asperger/autistic teenager. I am…

This novel has been turned into a stage play, and both formats have helped the general public to understand the experience of what it is like to grow up as autistic. Although it is fiction, it conveys how an autistic teenager can feel on the margins, experience a sense of detachment, and see the world differently from other people. It brings out the disabilities that are part of autism, such as difficulties in social relationships and sensory overload. And it brings out the strengths that are part of autism, such as remarkable attention to and memory for detail, a narrow,…

From Simon's list on exploring the human mind.

This crime mystery stands out as a favourite not only because it's unique in being told through the voice of a 15-year-old boy who it's assumed is autistic, but because the entire form of the novel is convincingly shaped by the way Christopher thinks and perceives the world. I love the way that maps, infographics, facts, and even the use of primary numbers as chapter headings, help us understand and appreciate his character at the same time as propelling the story forward. I was totally won over by the logic and honesty of a boy who struggles to understand emotions…

Mark Haddon’s 2003 global best-seller took the reader into the mind of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy with what would now be called autistic spectrum disorder. The crime is the murder of a neighbour’s dog, and in seeking to unlock who could have fatally speared Wellington with a garden fork, Christopher embarks on a journey that unlocks many family secrets and helps him make sense of his world. It’s an original, witty, and moving insight into other ways of thinking and seeing the world, and a reminder of why kindness and understanding are so needed in our busy world.   

Perhaps you think I’m playing fast and loose with my final recommendation. Perhaps you sense that this is my favorite book, and I’m finding any cause for inclusion. You’d be correct and incorrect. “Holocaust” means "burnt whole,” after all (In Greek; few people know this), and there isn’t a part of the character’s life that isn’t. His mind is of a non-mainstream state, his mother is dead, and a neighborhood dog has been murdered. Things only get worse as more is revealed. Christopher triumphs, however, with the most self-affirming and powerful closing statement of any book I’ve ever read. The…

I love the quirkiness of Haddon’s protagonist, Christopher, and how Haddon enables the reader to experience what Christopher is feeling and thinking. Christopher is “different,” and he is endearing because of that: one who is sensitive, heartbreakingly sweet, wiser than the average bear, and an example of how we can work through our problems by embracing our uniqueness. But there is nothing heavy-handed or didactic in this novel. Christopher’s story is treated with humor and optimism, not only for Christopher’s future, but for all of us. Who among us isn’t different?  

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