Chapters 151 and 157

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

8 thoughts on “Chapters 151 and 157

  1. Abby Ramser says:

    After Christopher learned about his mother’s affair in previous chapters it began to explain his father’s opinions and actions about this mystery/book. When the letters were found it further uncovered more about Chris’s father. I can only imagine the difficulty in explaining an affair to your child who has more ability to process the concept but I have no idea what I would do with a child like Christopher. He is very honest and will talk to adults at school. How would you respond if one of your student’s presented this type of information to you?

  2. Holly Hamill says:

    Well, this is a turn in events that is quite unexpected. If this is shocking to the reader, imagine how Christopher must feel. He has lived for some time under the premise that his mother is dead! This will surely rock his world. Family dynamics are complicated, so I am not sure how to feel about the fact that Christopher’s father hid the letters and has been letting him live a lie. I am looking forward to reading more about how this situation will unfold throughout the rest of Christopher’s story.

  3. Lindsey Ludwig says:

    This was such an unexpected turn! I felt so sorry for Christopher, as these revelations made him physically ill. I feel like that was one of the only ways his body could respond, as he just emotionally couldn’t process it all, I can only imagine the internal conflicts that each parent also dealt with.

  4. Kristin Kelly says:

    I have more understanding of why Christopher’s father lied to him and tried to keep his mother’s affair and reason for leaving a secret. As I read the letters from his mother, I can better understand his father’s actions. Given his very logical reasoning style and need for direct instruction in rules that govern human interactions, explaining all that to Christopher in a time of anger, betrayal, loss, frustration would seem overwhelming at best.

  5. Kristin Kelly says:

    I also have more understanding for his mother. The letter where she talks about the isolation from her son and husband, the loneliness and not knowing what to do to help her own son is heart-breaking. I wish there had been resources available to her to address these issues and I wonder what else we need to do for our parents. I have found that sometimes parents that seem to be difficult to communicate with or reach common ground with are at various stages of the grief cycle regarding their child’s weaknesses. They aren’t intentionally working against the school team but may not be ready or able at that time to process everything we think we need to say. Our counseling skills and instincts can serve us well.

  6. Amanda says:

    Such an interesting turn of events! Christopher’s father makes the decision that telling him that his mother died is the easier information to process. This makes sense based on Christopher’s straight forward thinking. I can’t imagine him trying to process this. Because he lost track of time and became physically sick, it does demonstrate his ability to understand the true shock of this information.

  7. Lindsay Manis says:

    This was a big turn of events for him. I keep thinking about how his response is physical illness. To think every time he is shocked, caught off guard or scared he becomes ill. It reiterates to me as a reader that he is unable to process this information and taken it in as others can. It is so overwhelming to him that he becomes sick. All the small things that most of us are able to at least put to the side and function, he struggles with.

  8. mhertel2 says:

    Christopher’s reaction to this news is so interesting. I could only imagine what it would be like to find out that a loved one that had been gone so long is alive! I can see so many ranges of emotions that one would feel having found out this information, but it so interesting that Christopher’s reaction is so physical. You don’t see the emotional range one would expect, its like his body processes the emotion, but him mind does not.

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