First, I must say, these chapters were an unexpected turn I did not expect to read in this story. Christopher is home alone and begins searching for the book he was writing, which his father had thrown away when he was mad. Christopher looks in a few sensible places, and then decides to take on another “detective” duty to search other places before his father arrives home, all the while listening intently for his father’s van to pull up outside. His search takes him from the kitchen to the den and into his father’s cupboard. Underneath a toolbox, Christopher finds a shirt box. He opens the box, and is happy to find that his book has not been destroyed, but is hidden inside. Then he hears his father arrive home, so he processes what to do next. Deciding to leave the book in the shirt box, he notices some letters with his name and address. Lucky for him, he is not caught when his father yells up the stairs.
6 days later, on a Monday night, Christopher is at home alone again and able to access the letters addressed to him as his father is out on an emergency maintenance call. Christopher takes out the first letter revealing to readers that the handwriting on the letter could only belong to three people, one of which is his mother. He opens and reads the letter that details his mother moving into a new place. Christopher, still being a detective, finds the postmark date on the envelope and calculates the date as 18 months after his mother was gone. So then he opens another letter, reads the contents. He opens 4 letters total before everything goes a blur. He wakes up to the sound of his father’s van pulling up, he sees that he has gotten sick all over, and is confused. His father comes to him and at first is not happy.
In her letter, Christopher’s mother explains why she left, in that Christopher’s father was much more patient and she observed them to get along well without her. Christopher’s father in the moment demonstrates his patience and level-headedness when responding to the situation. He calmly explains to Christopher, asks to see if he is OK, draws him a bath, and then helps him clean himself up.
I feel so bad for Christopher’s father and for Christopher. I am curious to find out how Christopher will accept this news. How will he respond to a change in something he has accepted as reality? (His mother having moved away with another man, rather than having passed away.) How do you think Christopher will handle the situation? Do you think he will seek out someone to talk with? If so, who? Do you think Christopher will want to visit his mother? or write her a letter? I imagine this situation is so difficult for their family. Now it makes even more sense as to why his father was so livid with Christopher for continuing the detective work. Not solely because of his physical safety, but also because of hiding the whereabouts of Christopher’s mother behind a lie.
- Katie Cohen