‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime’ levels the field for summer reading

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime levels the field for summer reading

Martha Schick, Managing Editor

The Patriot has reviewed several of the summer reading options for this year.  A student committee has been formed to allow for student opinion in choosing the summer reading book for 2012.  To read more about changes to the summer reading program, click here.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” by Mark Haddon is one of the possible summer reading book choices for the 2012-2013 school year.

The writing style is clear and easy to read and the story itself is captivating, making it perfect for all grades and reading levels.  The reader enters into the mind of autistic teenager Christopher Boone, the narrator.  Christopher narrates the novel with a distinct personality, allowing the reader to experience every day events through the mind of someone who struggles with a disability.

The novel opens with Christopher finding a neighbor’s dog stabbed to death with a garden fork.  He analyzes it and tells the reader that this book is going to be the story of his mission in solving the murder of the dog.
The novel is astonishingly poignant for a story in which the narrator doesn’t show normal human emotion.  It draws the reader in and makes them feel close to Christopher through his own thoughts, even though people in his life would never actually be able to feel close to him.

This book deserves the highest recommendation as the next summer reading book.  It gives a very valuable experience to its readers.  Many people, especially teenagers, don’t know how to deal with people that have learning disabilities like autism.  This book allows you to look at autism simply as a trait of the protagonist, not a character flaw.  Instead of judging Christopher for his ineptness in social situations, you marvel at his memory, mathematical skills, and deductive reasoning.

The genre as a mystery is multi-dimensional and follows two issues throughout the novel.  Christopher is trying to solve the murder of the dog, but it leads him down a path of learning about his mother, who had presumed to be dead.  The twists and turns of the novel grab you emotionally and keep you involved in the story.

The cast of characters allows for a realistic fiction aspect of the novel.  Christopher’s father is a man who loves his son but loses his temper because of how difficult Christopher is to deal with.  Christopher has neighbors that act exactly like your own neighbors would.  The setting is an average town in England and it feels like an average place where people would feel comfortable.

The entire book is very relatable, even though the narrator is so different than what most people would expect in a novel.  This book deserves the highest recommendation as the next summer reading book.  Many people, especially teenagers, don’t know how to deal with people that have learning disabilities like autism.  This book allows you to look at autism simply as a trait of the protagonist, not a character flaw.  Instead of judging Christopher for his ineptness in social situations, you marvel at his memory, mathematical skills, and deductive reasoning.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” allows readers to look beyond the disability without judgment, which is a powerful lesson and makes for an excellent selection for the summer reading program.

Martha Schick is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com