Written from the perspective of Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old autistic boy, the book begins with Chris deciding to investigate the mystery of who killed his neighbour’s dog – Wellington. Despite several setbacks, even from his father, who is usually supportive, Chris continues his dogged pursuit. The rest of the book is a vivid tale of how Chris methodically goes about solving the mystery, and the other things his seemingly simple quest throws up.
The detailing of Christopher’s character – behaviour, his thoughts, the way his mind works, his likes and dislikes, is extremely well done – right from the chapters appearing in the prime number sequence to the solution of a maths problem in the appendix.
Chris’ perspectives on many questions that mankind still debates on – computers and human brains, time and space, God and evolution, (though I felt it sometimes stretched the character’s possibilities a bit too much) combined with his inability to comprehend several things we take for granted – jokes, for example, or his having to cut a patch of hair off because he wouldn’t let anyone shampoo off the paint that had got stuck on it, makes for an endearing character, that leaves you poignant.
Chris’ father Ed is also someone I felt sorry for, it is perhaps impossible to comprehend the patience required to parent Chris. Chris’ teacher/friend/mentor Siobhan is also a memorable character for the tremendous understanding she shows while helping him adjust to the ways of the society he lives in.
In essence, a unique and excellent read that makes one think of the paradox of simultaneous simplicity and complexity in the human life.