POST: 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' - a quest to solve a mystery

What's it about?

A fifteen year old autistic boy on a quest to solve a mystery. He surprises himself with more mysteries to his life, and a lesson for one like no other.

What'd I Experience?

Ever come out of a place that just wrapped you up entirely?

Striking stage, seemed to me like a giant cube, colored bright lights glowed among the rich dark night resemblance. It reminded me of the movie Tron. Exactly like it. It was so surreal, I felt that I was going to be a part of a game of some sort.

A dog on mid-floor and right beside him, hysterically crying is Christopher Boone. His father enters and so does the owner of the dog.  Soon enough, an even louder cry comes from Christopher as they try to set him aside from the dead dog. I didn't understand his hysteria. I thought that maybe his bond with the dog had been so deep, or maybe that he'd been harmed unintentionally. But he clearly did not want to be touched. His reaction seemed kind of terrifying. But as he moved his upper body back and forth, I caught on to the fact that he was a special kid. I realized that this was going to be a very different story, something that I hadn't seen before.

Christopher was affected by this dog's death, regardless of it being somebody else's, he had lost a special friend. In just this bit of story, I started to understand a great deal about the kind of person Chris was. To someone like him, a dog wasn't just a companion, it was family. It was that one friend who listened, who didn’t judge, was filled with patience, and brightened his days.

Christopher was accused of having killed the dog. Infuriated, but determined to solve the mystery of who the real killer was, he starts a journey of investigation filled with adventure.  I hadn't seen somebody be more committed than he was on this subject. His approach was different than mine would be, he paid attention to every little detail.

Without knowing it, he's also on a quest to discover and solve a mystery within his family. Among the people surrounding him, besides his father, was his psychiatrist and the person he longed for the most. She was not physically present but only in his memory, his mother. He'd come to believe she had died when he was much younger, as his father had always told him. But he remembered her, and he missed her a lot. I felt tenderness towards him. I identified with living with an absent parent. In my case, it was a father-like figure, the physical presence of a person who is supposed to be the backbone that you and your family that I always longed for. I realized there was no less of a difference in the way that a child with special needs would feel about a situation that others. Chris understood sadness, loneliness, happiness… I dare to say he would manifest his feelings even better than many would.

He awed me with his intellectual capacity, more than all his passion for numbers. He wondered about astronomy. I liked the fact, the whole cubed stage served as the passageway for one to live inside Chris’ world, and that’s exactly how I felt. He imagined himself diving among the galaxy wandering through the stars. With the help of the ensemble, he was lifted up and swam through the darkened stage with lights resembled far away galaxies and stars as his backdrop.

For the first time, I felt I understood a child with autism. I was seeing and hearing things from a whole other point of view. And it had never been so clear. I thought about how smart this kid was and then thought about the others outside. He felt a little more human than some of us can ever be. Filled with boldness, daring to live life at all costs and more than all confident in what he could achieve.

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

He finds hidden letters in his dad’s bedroom. They are addressed to Christopher from his mother, all the way from London. When he confronts his father about them, the truth that his mother is actually alive is revealed. Surprisingly, his main reaction is that he would set off to find her. In a state of confusion, I asked myself, how did he think he was going to do that? Was there already a plan? As soon as the night hit, he set off. Inexperienced with the outside world, other than his hometown, he made way for himself by traveling in a train and asking others for help. He went through unpleasant events, but all only because his only goal was to meet with his mother. How’s that for committed?

When he finally arrives at her address he is greeted by her and her partner. To me, the moment that should’ve been kind of emotional seemed kind of plain. I couldn’t explain it, I don’t know if I just didn’t know how to absorb the moment but it felt bland, that for a moment I felt the mother didn’t feel it as much. Maybe I was over reacting but of course it was an important part. I later understood that Chris’ mother had left him and his father for her current partner, who turned out to be the husband of the dog’s owner. Yeah, I was all “whaaat?!” too, but it made sense. It came clear to me why the owner accused Chris of killing the dog, and why his father told him his mother was dead.

Between the dilemma of going back to his hometown and his father arriving at London, Chris finds out that his father was the one who killed the dog. Oh yeah… it hurt. I kind of felt it, it was like hearing that somebody so close to you was taken away. His reaction was an expected one, filled with cries of rejection from Chris towards his father. The days pass and to get his mind off the situation, Chris concentrates on taking a math exam that would get him into a prestigious school. Undoubtedly, he passes with a perfect score, proving once more his intellectual capability.

To his forgiveness, his father attempts one more time to talk to Chris. In this conversation he opens up to Chris like he hadn’t before, talking to him like he would with any other person who understands. He expresses his motives for why he killed the dog, and pleads for his son’s pardon. Hesitantly, Chris accepts his father’s pleas, but before it all, he is surprised by one thing that fills him with joy, a new puppy. The last of all scenes, but that almost made me shed a tear. Call me corny or whatever, but that moment was so emotional. He was finally being understood, and more than all gained a new companion who would remain by his side no matter what.

Definitely a lifetime lesson. I realized that those like Christopher carry a life of wonder. It taught me that the next time I am next to someone like Christopher, I shouldn’t underestimate their range of capability; because they can be up to doing the unimaginable, confident enough to do what I’d be scared to.


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