Chapter 13

Christopher is riding home in his father's car, and there are clouds blocking his view of the Milky Way. I've heard quite enough about the Milky Way, thank you.

He apologizes to his father for making him come to the police station, and his father says it's okay. He says he didn't kill the dog, and his father says he knows; then he tells Christopher to stay out of trouble. I'm just summarizing (paraphrasing) this stuff because I haven't got anything to say. Christopher says he just wanted to say hello to Wellington and he didn't know he was dead or that he'd get in trouble, and I'm going to just quote the rest of the exchange because I suck at this summarizing thing.

Father said, "Just try and keep your nose out of other people's business."
I thought for a little and I said, "I am going to find out who killed Wellington."
And Father said, "Were you listening to what I was saying, Christopher?"
I said, "Yes, I was listening to what you were saying, but when someone gets murdered you have to find out who did it so that they can be punished."
And he said, "It's a bloody dog, Christopher, a bloody dog."
I replied, "I think dogs are important, too."
He said, "Leave it."
And I said, "I wonder if the police will find out who killed him and punish the person."
Then Father banged the steering wheel with his fist and the car weaved a little bit across the dotted line in the middle of the road and he shouted, "I said leave it, for God's sake."

He shouldn't bang on the wheel while he's driving.

I'm seriously sick of the dialogue tags. If they're not for tone of voice -- which they're not here because Christopher (presumably) has no clue about tone -- they don't need to be there once the speakers have been established. They just add to the dusty toneless monotony.

I could tell that he was angry because he was shouting, and I didn't want to make him angry so I didn't say anything else until we got home.

Wait a minute. He's already angry, and you don't want to make him angry. What's wrong with this picture? Do you mean you don't want to make him angrier? Do you mean you want him to stop being angry? You can't possibly mean what you said.

That aside, this chapter is more of the same weird emotionless stuff where upsetting things are happening and the narrator doesn't convey how they feel. I shouldn't find this so disconcerting if Christopher is like me. There is a disorder that this aspect reminds me of, but I'm no psychologist. (Of course, neither is Haddon, so I have just as much authority to claim that Christopher has such-and-such.)

They get home. Christopher shuts himself in his room and gives Toby a carrot.

Then I turned my computer on and played 76 games of Minesweeper and did the Expert Version in 102 seconds, which was only 3 seconds off my best time, which was 99 seconds.

More numbers. These are forgivable, I suppose. Minesweeper is a real game, but I don't know why it's bold.

At 2:07 a.m. I decided that I wanted a drink of orange squash before I brushed my teeth and got into bed, so I went downstairs to the kitchen. Father was sitting on the sofa watching snooker on the television and drinking scotch. There were tears coming out of his eyes.

He must go to bed pretty late.

I looked up orange squash, since the phrase brings to mind actual solid squash fruit. It's a real drink, and it seems to be associated with Britain, which is why I never heard of it before. See, it is possible to learn things from this book. They're just not the advertised things.

So there were tears coming out of his eyes, but was he crying or cutting onions?

I asked, "Are you sad about Wellington?"
He looked at me for a long time and sucked air in through his nose. Then he said, "Yes, Christopher, you could say that. You could very well say that."

Christopher seems to be a little fixated on noses. He could have said "took a deep breath" or something similar.

I decided to leave him alone because when I am sad I want to be left alone. So I didn't say anything else. I just went into the kitchen and made my orange squash and took it back upstairs to my room.

Does he not know his father well enough to not extrapolate from his own preferences? This sounds like a theory of mind failure.

I hope he puts whatever he drank it out of back in the kitchen when he's done. Squash usually seems to be something you buy, so I'm not sure why he's making it from scratch. Finally, he can't take it back upstairs, since it wasn't upstairs in the first place. He can go back upstairs because he came downstairs, but that doesn't mean that everything he takes with him is also going back.

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This page was last modified on 01/07/2016 (dmy).