Claire’s Corner: Meet the New Sherlock Holmes

Claire’s Corner: Meet the New Sherlock Holmes

When I peruse through the shelves at Barnes and Nobles, I always find myself guilty of judging a book by its cover. When I see cheesy, romantic covers, I walk away, and when I am in the mood for a mystery novel, I look for the darker, more serious covers. However, at first sight, I couldn’t figure out the contents of Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” The bright orange cover and upside down cut out of a dog hinted that the novel would be comical; I was caught off guard when I actually opened the book and was taken on an emotional and touching journey of Christopher John Francis Boone and his honest attempt to uncover the murder mystery of a neighborhood dog.

The novel’s perspective is similar to that of “Flowers for Algernon.” Both novels have the narrator explaining the events of his life through a journal. However, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” includes drawings and an adventurous personality that differentiate the novel from others. Within the first few pages of the book, I was introduced to Christopher, who seems to have Asperger’s Syndrome and is determined to solve a doggy homicide that occurred in his neighborhood.

At first, I found it strange that the first journal entry was numbered with “2” at first instead of “1,” but later, I discovered that Christopher prefers numbering his book with prime numbers. This is merely one of the oddities that make the narrator so charming and unique. He is undeniably smart and has certain preferences, such as a phobia of being touched, that are revealed throughout the novel. It is also shown that the novel is his attempt of writing a murder mystery novel because of his affinity for puzzles. He is incredibly intelligent, which is evident from his passion for reading novels and working on elaborate math problems.

Initially, the story is supposed to be about the dog’s murder, but it turns out that it is mostly about Christopher’s accidental journey of self-discovery. While he is on the hunt for justice, he uncovers secrets hidden by his father and eventually reveals the disrupted dynamic of his family. Throughout the novel, I slowly grew to love the father for his faults and his whole-hearted love for Christopher. I sympathized with the father as he tries his best to take care of Christopher and is well aware of Christopher’s unusual habits. I felt my heart melt every time the father constantly reassures Christopher that he loves him.

I found comedy, dramatic moments, and surprises that impelled me to finish the book in one sitting. However, I was disappointed with the ending and closed the book unsatisfied. Yet, the little details and pictures throughout the story slightly made up for the lacking conclusion. Although Christopher is a child, I saw the honest ambition and humor in his attempts to write his mystery novel and enjoyed his journey. The characters were all very genuine and the prose effortlessly emulates the thoughts of a young boy. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is great for a light read or a smile of amusement from Christopher’s doodles.