Like many, many others I read this book and very much enjoyed it. Nevertheless, it is, in my view, one of the most over-rated books in recent times, only surpassed by the Divinci Code in the un-deserving glory stakes. It is certainly clever, in fact, it is perhaps a little too clever for my liking. The author has decided to write from the perspective of a fifteen year old boy named Christopher, who has autism. It seems to me that at times Haddon falls out of character and takes time to explain why Christopher has written/said/done something and how it fits in with his autism – the story would have flowed better without such justifications.
The plot in itself is also a little weak, when you take away the gimmicks and strip it down to the bear bones it is a story about a father convincing his son that his adulterous wife is dead, only for the son to discover the lie and for them all to eventually live happily ever after – soon forgetting the poor dead dog that got Christopher asking questions in the first place. If it were not for the many gimmicks this book certainly would not have won Whitbread Book of the Year. It does, however, deserve the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize as it is a great book to get a young teenager hooked on independent reading.
I would have for it to sound as if I did not enjoy this book because I did and I would certainly recommend it for anyone’s reading list, but I do insist that it is not a work of genius and there are many less widely acclaimed books in this genre that surpass this one. With all of these factors considering I give The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a Great Book Guide score of 80% – pretty good, worth a read but don’t set your expectations too high.