Hansen Teo

Singapore

Review on Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

January 21, 2021

This book is about of boy named Christopher, who has a curious syndrome. He understands math and science but cannot understand emotions or connect with people. This book written by Christopher allows us to take a peek into a emotionally stressful time in his life.

“This is a murder mystery novel.”

Christopher is a fan of Sherlock Holmes. He admires and relates himself to Sherlock. Although he never states it, his motivation for writing the book was likely because he could pretend that he was Sherlock Holmes, solving mysteries with his observational skills. Just like Sherlock Holmes, he prides himself in his ability to fully focus his attention on a singular problem and his talent for solving puzzles. Sometimes in the book, Christopher diverts from the plot to some commentary on topics related to math and science. Although this straying from the plot may seem completely unrelated, it sometimes is a medium to express Christopher's feelings when he does not state them explicitly. This I find extremely interesting as it really shows how Christopher uses his logic, which is his strength, to help him with his weakness in emotions. 

“I think I would make a very good astronaut. To be a good astronaut you have to be intelligent and I’m intelligent. You also have to understand how machines work and I’m good at understanding how machines work. You also have to be someone who would like being on their own in a tiny space-craft thousands and thousands of miles away…”

Christopher says this right after he is reprimanded to his father and he is in his room. Although it is not so obvious, this is is way of expressing that he wants to be independent. He says many times in his book that he wants to go to college and live on his own. He also disobeys his father's wishes when he goes around investigating the death of the dog. Throughout the book, I can clearly see his battle for independence, as he pushes himself into uncomfortable situations and despite the many failings, I see him starting to improve his social skills which makes me root for him.

The reason why I find this book so interesting is that the book really captures what it is like to be someone like Christopher, a logical person living in an extremely illogical world.  This creates the effect of the emotional disconnect that Christopher feels, and I am able to get a slight peek of the world through the eyes of Christopher. In the book, Christopher is mocked and laughed at for his odd behavior. Even when people do want to help him, they don’t really know how, and often make the mistake of trying to get close to Christopher or even touching. However, since Christopher does not know how to interact properly, he often reacts in the wrong way, pushing people away. I am able to feel his struggle to find the right way to interact, and the panic he feels when he cannot express himself. He sometimes resorts to taking out his knife to tell people to keep a comfortable distance from him. In this way, I get to understand the struggles he faced in his daily life.

Another reason why this book is interesting is that it challenges us to reconsider what society perceives as normal behavior. From Christopher’s perspective, his parents are the ones that are weird, not him. Although Christopher’s parents have made some questionable decisions, their actions are justified as they were doing it in the heat of the moment, when they let their emotions guide them, losing control of themselves. When we look at Christopher’s responses to some things, his response may seem cold and ‘inappropriate’ to us. However, his responses are the ones that yield less repercussions and do not make him act irrationally. When comparing Christopher to his parents, I have to wonder if society would be less wild and unpredictable if there were more people like Christopher.

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  • January 21, 2021 - 1:55am (Now Viewing)

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