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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon, appears to be a children’s book. It starts out with the narrator discovering the death of a neighbor’s poodle.  It is easy to be misled because of the simple language and the rather clunky plot.  The book is not subtle, but the issues raised through the autistic boy’s attempt to solve the mystery and face new challenges in his life are all the big ones:  marriage, divorce, life and death, the universe and everything.  The best thing is the voice of the narrator, the autistic teen Christopher, as he describes how the world seems to him and how he copes (or doesn’t cope) with sensory overload, the strangeness of other people and the breakdown of his familiar world.  I loved the Sherlock Holmes references and the math examples were interesting, even to a non-math person.  At one point, Christopher must go forward because he is too afraid to turn back, and he creates a mathematical equation that shows his fears are in inverse proportion to one another so that the total fear remains constant no matter what he does. The application of math to daily life is well done and you see how Christopher can use what he knows to conquer the unknown (and also the potential usefulness of algebra in everyday life, something that would be good for the average person to learn). Eventually, you find youself really empathizing with Christopher’s viewpoint.  He’s right, people don’t always say what they mean, they often lie and the world is often illogical. We all have to find our own way to cope with it. 

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