So, the book with my favourite title is “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon. The title is so catchy, I had to read the book as soon as I saw it.
I love this title because I think it totally encapsulates the persona of its narrator, Christopher John Francis Boone. Fifteen year old Christopher is high-functioning autistic who relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. One morning, he wakes up to find his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, dead on his lawn. The boy’s teacher Siobhan suggests he should write about the incident. As such, this book documents his various observations and how he adjusts to what he sees.
Moreover, the long title reflects how Christopher’s eye for details and how he needs to note everything down. In addition, it also shows how Christopher is very matter of factly in that he says exactly what he means. This is evident when reading the first paragraph. Here, he introduces and explains all the elements of the title: it’s shortly after midnight, there’s a dead dog lying on the lawn, and the narrator is unsure how and why it came to be there, and why it’s dead.
It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears’ house. Its eyes were closed. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog. The points of the fork must have gone all the way through the dog and into the ground because the fork had not fallen over. I decided that the dog was probably killed with the fork because I could not see any other wounds in the dog and I do not think you would stick a garden fork into a dog after it had died for some other reason, like cancer for example, or a road accident. But I could not be certain about this.
If you’re interested, the full chapter is here.
The title clearly illustrates his personality too. Since Christopher really likes Sherlock Holmes, he chose this title to mimic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories like “The Adventure of the Empty House” or “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” However, as his teacher explained to him, most murder mysteries are concerned with a person’s murder, not the murder of a dog. But Christopher argues that the murder of a dog is just as interesting as the murder of a person. Which again makes the title pertinent to Christopher’s character.
Christopher is probably the only person who would be so concerned and sympathetic of animals that he is so committed to figuring out what happened and actually write a book about it. Indeed, Christopher often finds solace in interacting with animals and finds it easier to understand them than people. Animals also provide Christopher with the companionship he doesn’t find in other people.
Although Christopher was supposed to be writing about how the dog died for his assignment, this book includes other things which he uncovers as well – his father’s relationship with Mrs Shears, how his mother abandoned him, his father keeping these from him. Indeed, I think the title is witty because the dog seems to be a symbolism for Christopher and solving the murder mystery runs parallel to him understanding the world he is living in as well. After following Christopher’s investigation, I assure you that you will never view the world the same way again.
Truly, just like the book’s title, Christopher Boone is one narrator you’ll never forget.