Don’t be put off by the length of the title. Mark Haddon’s novel which has thrilled adults and children alike is a worthy winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year; and yes, it has pictures.
The story is narrated by Christopher, a fifteen year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, and describes his attempts to find out who killed his neighbour’s dog with a garden fork. Motivated by a determination to uncover the truth and an awe for the expertise of Sherlock Holmes, Christopher’s detective skills unearth both the identity of the murderer along with a disturbing family secret which uproots his ordered existence and causes him to venture out into a terrifyingly alien world. In its use of the detective genre to raise questions pertaining to more than the specific plot, it takes a worthy place alongside Umberto Eco’s ‘The Name Of The Rose’ and (particularly with its child protagonist) Donna Tart’s ‘The Little Friend.’
Christopher’s narration gives a truthful and perceptive account of a world we all take for granted and his mathematical genius offers an intriguing insight into the logical answers to life’s big questions. Haddon’s is an endearing, thought-provoking novel whose uniqueness has rightfully taken the literary world by storm.