Re: Curious Incident: Pages 178 - 221
I'm gonna skip the next-to-last section for the moment -- mostly because I don't have my copy with me, so I'm not sure about what events that section covers.
If you've finished the book, what do you think of the conclusion? Christopher seems to have gotten just about everything that he wanted, including a grandiose dose of confidence that leads him to believe that he can achieve whatever he wants to in life.
But what struck me as the book went on is how I sort of fell through the cracks of the story Christopher was trying to tell and ended up with a fair measure of concern for his parents. Their lives don't seem particularly better for the changes that have taken place. It's difficult getting around the conclusion that Christopher is so divorced from the interior lives of the people around him that he can't help but be destructively selfish.
I felt a particular measure of pity for the father. Granted, he did some very ignoble things in the novel, but his sense of irreconcilable remorse really resonated with me. He's a guy who will likely be striving for the rest of his life to win forgiveness from a boy who likely doesn't understand what it's like to feel the crushing weight of responsibility he feels.
Given a larger portion of the book, the mother probably would have won an equal share of my sympathy. She's a deeply flawed woman, and it must be incredibly smothering to be know that you're so ill-suited to the card that fate has played you. Her explanation to Christopher in the earlier chapters was the start of my sympathy for her. She seemed to genuinely feel that she's so poorly suited to be his mother that he and his father will be better off without her dragging them down. Then again, it may be hard to reconcile that professed reason with her affair. If she had left on her own, it would be carte blanche understandable -- that she left with another man leaves open some doubt as to whether or not those reasons were foremost in her mind.
But the impression I was left with at the end of the novel is that these people, though still estranged, make up a kind of island. No one else can really see into the feelings of love and personal responsibility that tie Christopher's parents to him. And for that reason, they're more isolated at the close of the story than they probably ever were before.