IVP - Andy Unedited - The Curious Incident

November 17, 2014

The Curious Incident

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by David Haddon has sold millions of copies, and is now a Broadway play. The book takes us into the mind of Christopher, a high-functioning autistic fifteen-year-old in contemporary Britain. Inside that mind, behavior that seems so odd if not down-right crazy actually begins to make sense.

If you curious incident.jpegsee everything (I mean, everything), if your mind is incapable of skipping over every leaf of a tree so you can't see the tree, every bird in the sky so you can't see a flock and zeroing in on one conversation because you hear every single conversation in the din around you--well, then you may well try to shut out all that massive stimulation by curling up in a ball and moaning to yourself. That actually seems like a very reasonable strategy.

Haddon packs this all into a murder mystery (the murder of the dog in the title of the book) and the back story of his parents. The irony is the contrast we find between Christopher and his mom and dad. Christopher's mind only works with logic. He can't read emotions on faces or understand analogies--which to him are actually lies. He only has a rudimentary apprehension of the most basic emotions like being happy, sad or afraid. So he often appears emotionless to others.

His parents on the other hand are both consumed by their emotions, often in connection with their imperfect attempts to love and care for (and not be completely frustrated by) Christopher. Affairs, abandonment, anger--all rage in their lives. In their own way, they are disabled too.

As someone committed to logic, Christopher unsurprisingly doesn't believe in God. This comes up several times in this first-person narrative. For Christopher who could barely grasp beauty or experience love, it is not surprising that his world would be barren of God.

I rarely read books twice nor do I want to. This was one I happily read a second time recently. Very worthwhile.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at November 17, 2014 9:54 AM Bookmark and Share

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book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.