Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Author: Mark Haddon
Publisher: Vintage Books; Random House, Inc.
Release Date: June 17, 2003
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. This improbable story of Christopher’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.
I fell in love with this story. Christopher, despite, or possibly even because of, his special needs, is intelligent beyond belief, and very intuitive. Not only is the he relatable to the readers, but especially for people who have worked with kids who have special needs or are simply friends of them. The way Haddon is able to get inside an autistic teen’s mind is amazing, and incredibly insightful. The extenuating circumstances of the novel pretty much cover anything that an autistic child could possibly experience, from a death, a separation, angry parents, and unsatiable curiosity.
Even though it may not have been intended to do this, the book gives a lot of encouragement to people to interact with special needs kids and adults every day. It gives them a little insight into how their minds work, but not only this, it also sends a message to people everywhere: even though they may have special needs, they are still people, with emotions even if they don’t understand their emotions or put them in the same words we would. Their special needs don’t include being coddled, necessarily, and they certainly don’t include being lied to as though their minds are still on a first grade level no matter who the person is. Every one is different, even the disabled and special needs, and though perhaps some different treatment is required, it is not to be encouraged to treat them as though they are not people, as though they can not understand you. It is rather to be encouraged to be specific, to ask questions, and to support the special needs in order to teach them to cope on their own and understand their world better.
Imagine being thrown into another world, where cats ruled the planet. You don’t understand what they’re saying, but they understand you. You can’t understand their facial expressions, body language, and customs, but they know you. If you’re trying to live in that place, you need to learn the customs and language. It’s similar with people with special needs, and this book is an excellent portrayal of this. I highly recommend this book.