The story is told from the point of view of a 15-year old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of autism). It is such an unusual perspective, that I found myself thinking about it quite a bit while reading. Why choose this voice, this point of view? What does the author accomplish by telling the story through Christopher?
Christopher’s narration is flat, matter-of-fact. He processes situations without much emotion. I found that this detachment made some sad or scary situations pretty funny. (Hmm. This is hard to explain, because it sounds like I’m being insensitive to people with autism, but I’m not, truly.) For example, the plain way he describes the dead dog next door (not funny) is so matter-of-fact that it does strike the reader as funny, or ridiculous:
The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog... 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.
Or, at another point, Christopher becomes convinced that his father is going to kill him (obviously not funny), but his reasons for thinking this are not necessarily rational, so the situation does become humorous to the reader. It’s just a different point of view.
I liked it. Definitely an unusual read. Next up for my group is that favorite of book clubs everywhere, The Hours, by Michael Cunningham. I suppose I will read Mrs. Dalloway first, to get the full effect.