Solving Mysteries with Christopher Francis Boone

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.31.27 AMA Whitbread Award winning novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was Mark Haddon’s debut book that delivered a captivating and moving story about Christopher Francis Boone’s journey. Our 15-year-old protagonist is familiarized with all the countries of the world and every prime number up to 7,057. In general, Christopher is gifted with a very logical brain in which he lives dependently on rules, patterns and precise structure. He likes animals but has no understanding or relativity to human emotions. He cannot stand being touched and detests the color yellow, thus making him seem eccentric to others. He is described as having Asperger syndrome: an autism spectrum disorder where he finds difficulty in adjusting to social interactions. Henceforth, the story then deliberately molds an extraordinary element, in which we get to view the world from the eyes of an autistic young man. Beth Haller, a member of The Society of Disabilities Studies, also evaluates autism’s impact on Christopher’s character and the storyline in her book review (link below).

The story begins when Christopher came across a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, killed. Subsequently, he sets out on a detective journey to solve the murder. However, he will soon discover that this journey helped him find his place in society as he set out into the chaotic world of reality- a place that threatens his logical and restricted mind.

There are several things I love about this book. But the one think I favor is that the book can make us feel emotionally confused. Haddon can make it tenderly humorous but agonizing at the same time. This thought-provoking book delineates the way a mind functions so accurately, yet so humanely that it becomes a mystery itself.
Houston Chronicle declared, “Think Huck Finn, The Catcher in the Rye…” and after reading this book, I finally realized what this reference meant. Christopher has an emotionally disassociated mind, which makes him utterly vulnerable when he set foot into the wild reality. Unaware that he is alienated from society, Christopher is definitely one of the strangest characters I have ever met. Despite his struggles, the cheeky novel offers the notion that the best lives can be lived where difference is cherished as part of one’s identity. This ‘Sherlock Holmes’ based mystery was more like a journey for experience as we get to see how he coped with the real adversity of life. It really brings out the element of empathy and sympathy in us as we watch him, alone and hopeless against the terrifying world. After all, he’s only human. Haddon thus has created a new kind of hero, which made it really achingly entertaining to read. It’s the sort of novel that gives us a sense of release after reading such an enlightening book with a very profound message to it.

Beth Haller’s Review:

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