As a music teacher, I have worked with several children with varying degrees of autism. Autism has always fascinated me - this inpenetrable wall inside a mind, that doesn't allow someone to communicate "normally."
This book centers around a young boy with autism, and what he does when he finds his neighbor's dog has been murdered. The way that Haddon is able to draw out this character and make the reader understand that even though because he is autistic and can't verbalize feelings like others, he still feels them.
One reviewer said that it reminded him of The Catcher in the Rye, and I have to agree - what starts out as a simple story fleshes out into a beautiful tale of love and human experience.