Literature: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003) is a novel by Mark Haddon. It is about young Christopher John Francis Boone, who knows all the countries of the world and all the prime numbers up to 7,057, but has almost no comprehension of human emotion.One late night (exactly 7 minutes after midnight), he finds his neighbor's dog killed by a garden fork, leading him into an investigation that becomes about more than just a dead dog, but about the real world told through the eyes of a 15-year-old with severe autism, right down to the unnecessary details.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time contains examples of:
Abusive Parents: It's mentioned that Christopher's mother hit him a few times as a kid simply because she didn't know how to deal with him. She did feel remorse though, and it's part of the reason she felt she wasn't a good enough mother for him.
Christopher's father also
Alternate Character Interpretation: In-universe. To most people, killing Wellington would be a pretty disgusting Kick the Dog (no pun intended) moment but not quite the Moral Event Horizon. To Christopher, it is as serious as killing a human being and his father is a murderer and Christopher must escape from the house because his father could kill anyone.
As discussed below, it's commonly believed that Christopher has Asperger Syndrome but he actually shows lots of signs of being much lower down on the spectrum such as wetting himself and acting years younger than his actual age a lot.
Ambiguous Disorder: While Christopher is clearly meant to be somewhere on the autistic spectrum, it never says in the novel what exactly he is diagnosed with, if anything, though it could be...
Asperger Syndrome: The blurb of more recent editions of the book states he has Asperger's, although looking at the other students in his school as well as other indicators (such as attacking people who touch him), he may in fact have a more severe form of autism and Executive Meddling later changed it to Asperger's to make it easier for readers to empathise with him.
Haddon himself actually states that he never made the book specifically about someone on the autistic spectrum, but rather about someone who was an "outsider".
People who are actually autistic-spectrum tend to react poorly to the idea that Christopher is supposed to be anything like them.
Deadpan Snarker: Christopher claims to have no sense of humour but is given to moments of dry, sardonic wit, an example being: "I think dogs are more interesting than some people. Francis who goes to be school for instance needs help to eat his food and could not even fetch a stick. Siobhan tells me not to say this to Francis's mother."
Deconstruction: Of the Kid Detective genre of books. It shows what kind of person would be stupid enough to go out of their way to search for clues about a 'murder' in a world dictated by reality, all for the sake of wanting to being a detective. In fact, The 'investigation' comes to a screeching halt less than halfway through the story because clues don't just fall into your lap
Evolutionary Levels: Christopher ponders this trope at one point and dismisses it, saying that humans aren't the pinnacle of evolution but just one successful species out of many that have existed, and will probably go extinct in the future and be replaced by something else.
Father: She has a problem... a problem with her heart.
Hard On Soft Science: Despite Christopher having almost No Sense Of Humour, he does enjoy one joke about inductive reasoning, because it shows a mathematician showing up an economist, and as he puts it, "economists aren't real scientists".
Hates Being Touched: Christopher hates it so much that he reacts violently whenever anyone touches him, even his own parents. Instead of hugging him, they touch their fingertips to his when they want to show affection.
Heroic BSOD: Christopher goes nearly catatonic when he finds out his father was the one who killed Wellington, and hid from him that his mother is not dead but merely abandoned them.
Hyper Awareness: The reason Christopher says he doesn't like new places or people: he has no filters and can't help but notice every little detail about the environment around him, down to the smell of a policeman's aftershave and the vents in his teacher's shoes. It doesn't help that he has a self-described Photographic Memory.
Not Using the Z Word: Christopher is never identified as being anywhere on the autistic spectrum in the book. Haddon himself maintains that he wrote the character as an "outsider" more than anything else.
Parents as People: To the point were it might as well be called "parents as people, the book".
Picky Eater: Chris, a trait of his ASD. He refuses to eat any food that has touched a different kind of food on his plate, and keeps a bottle of food colouring in the kitchen for yellow foods (his least favorite colour).
Punch a Wall: Ed punches a hole in a fence when Christopher won't talk to him.
The Rainman: Christopher is a classic example of the "autistic savant" trope: brilliant at math, poor at communicating, a Creature of Habit.
Reading Your Rights: Christopher gets this from the cop at the beginning, which he recognizes as standard procedure.
Schedule Fanatic: Chris. He plans his daily routine down to the minute and gets upset when he isn't sure what time it is.
Super OCD: Christopher gets very upset when anything in his house is changed and goes as far as measuring where the furniture is so he can put it back in the right places after his mother vacuums. He likes Mrs. Shears because she's very neat and organizes everything in the kitchen.
Trademark Favorite Food: Christopher loves strawberry milkshakes and mentions them several times in the book. He's also fond of Indian food.