CHILDREN’S THEATRE MAGAZINE Book Review: The Curious incident of overwhelmed parents, broken marriages, problematic policemen and how to deal with a troubled autistic child in Mark Haddon’s classic novel that everyone should read

It’s not easy raising a child with special needs. Relationships crack, families splinter and lives are changed as Mark Haddon’s 2003 fictional memoire The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time reveals. It doesn’t have to be like that as all families are different and many cope and even thrive. But for the Boone’s the impact of Christopher on their lives was a relationship breaker.

Part detective novel, part coming of age narrative and part exploration of fifteen-year—old Christopher Boone’s mind as he struggles to understand the adult world around him, his account of a dramatic chapter in his life is a classic novel of our times and a landmark in contemporary literature.

Published in 2016, the story of how the highly intelligent but socially problematical Christopher with Asperger’s Syndrome comes to terms with his parents, their relationships and in particular the mystery of who had killed Wellington the dog is a page turning and gripping who-dunnit accessible to adults and teenagers alike.

Narrated in the first person by Christopher as he examines the dark domestic evidence and begins his investigation the story charts his mind set and relationships with the main characters within the unfolding drama. And one of the unsung heroes in Siobhan, his key worker at school who understands and helps to educate Christopher as he matures.

Christopher’s father struggles to deal with his problems of how to cope with a world he doesn’t understand – and in a way his dad manages the best as he mainly remains calm and accepts his son as he is. If only there wasn’t that huge lie that blows the plot wide open – but then we wouldn’t have a story.

Harry Mottram

More from Harry at

The play is scheduled to tour in the UK this autumn. Details at

It will be at the Bristol Hippodrome from 13-17 October 2020 – Covid-19 permitting.

A short film on the play can be seen here:

The original trailer for the West End production can be seen here: