"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 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."
It's difficult to know how to review this one. On the surface, I didn't really like the book...but the purpose of this particular novel isn't really to entertain.
For me, the majority of fiction I read has to serve one purpose, above all others: to entertain. I want to get absorbed in the story, lost in the words, hooked into the narrative, and basically use books as another form of escapism. Of course if the book also has an important message, that's icing on the cake. But I mainly read fiction for entertainment.
The Curious Incident didn't quite make it, and it was a bit of a chore to finally - finally - finish this book, which has been sitting forlornly on my 'to be read' shelf for possibly over a year now. The predominant emotion I felt throughout the story was frustration. And come on, when I'm on the train at 7:45am on a cold wet day being squashed against the window by a really big person sitting next to me - I'm already kind of in a sour mood. The last thing I need to be thinking is "This is the most frustrating, dysfunctional bunch of main characters I have ever spent time with".
Of course, the protagonist (and narrator) has every reason to come across as frustrating, and I guess that's where this book really shines through: realism. Every single other person that Christopher came into contact with struck me as incredibly real. The dialogue, their thoughts, their actions, and most of all how Christopher perceived them, seemed to leap off the page. Plus, I definitely have a bit more of a sense now for what it must be like to live with someone who has a mental illness. If I felt frustrated just by reading a (comparatively) short novel about someone with Asperger's, I can't imagine how difficult it would be to feel that way every single day.
I have a terrible feeling if I go on for too much longer, I'll fall into some horrible quagmire of Insensitivity and/or Political Incorrectness. Normally, I fully support this on the Internet - there's too much careful sidestepping and political correctness everywhere else in the world, it's often refreshing to find someone who doesn't give a damn and just says what they think. But for now, I'll leave this review with just one final comment...
RATING: ...I'm giving it points for sheer realism, and also for (as I call it) Dealing with a Significant Issue, but for me personally, I wasn't a fan of the book. 2 STARS