The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
Ed Boone (Father)
Does every protagonist need an antagonist? We seem to remember hearing that once. Well if Christopher is the protagonist, then is his father the antagonist? And if his father's the antagonist, does that make him the villain? We guess what we're really asking here is, is Christopher's father a bad dude?
Christopher sure thinks so, from the second half of the book onward at least, after he finds out his father lied about Christopher's mother dying. Before that, he really doesn't seem to have any opinion of his dad at all, although we can't say we get a very good impression of him from what Christopher does tell us.
And what's up with that? This guy takes care of Christopher, while also busy running his own business (43.3). And most of the time he seems really sweet to Christopher: we love the way he asks his son what he feels like eating for dinner (149.40), and tells him his favorite program is on TV (149.60). But Christopher doesn't appear to have any appreciation of this whatsoever. Interestingly, the most flattering image of Christopher's dad appears in the letters written by Christopher's mom (that is, his father's estranged wife). She praises him for being a wonderful parent to Christopher, and everything she wasn't able to be herself.
Okay, look, we admit that he messes up big time by lying to Christopher, telling him his mother is dead – that is seriously not cool. What do we make of his explanation? It seems like he was at least trying to do the right thing. But what could he possibly have been thinking? What assumptions was he making about Christopher's relationship with his mother, and his ability to process the truth (let alone the lie)? Did he think he wouldn't care? Finally, and most importantly, do we forgive him?