A Curious Case of Character-Driven Novels

After a lengthy read for book club – Dr. Zhavigo –  I picked up something lighter to read.  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time comes in at a mere 270 pages, but seems half that when reading on the Nook.  It’s completely character-driven, told in the voice of a 15-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrom who feels more at home in math class than with his parents.  He can calculate large numbers quickly, devises algorithms for daily activities such as getting stuck in a traffic jam, and is obsessed with prime numbers, to the point that his chapters are appropriately labeled by them, rather than the conventional cardinal numbers.

When Christopher discovers a dead dog in his neighbor’s yard, he embarks on a detective mission, similar to his beloved Sherlock Holmes books, where he learns the most about his own family and their relationships with the neighborhood.  While his world unravels, he becomes more focused on his upcoming math class, the only thing that stays constant throughout the book.  Even though Christopher has to keep his distance from people, it’s the characters in the book that make the story.  Readers become closer to them through each detail and each clue, as the author Mark Haddon reveals just enough to keep the story moving forward.



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