Name: Christopher John Francis Boone
Book/Film/TV Show: He’s the main character and narrator of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
Personality: Stubborn, logical, brilliant at maths, unable to understand jokes or metaphors, rigid in thought, fond of animals but confused by people, and a keen detective. He is high-functioning Autistic, which means his thought processes are very different, but he is intelligent, articulate and an absolutely fascinating character.
Why They’re a Great Character: I thought it was about time I actually wrote about a character in a book. Then I remembered why film and TV characters are easier – you can find pictures of them on Google… So, you’ll have to use your imagination, and settle for a picture of the book’s front cover.
Christopher John Francis Boone is one of the most original characters I’ve read in a long time. There was a bit of controversy over labelling him with Asperger’s Syndrome as some felt the portrayal of his behaviours didn’t accurately reflect the condition. Whether that is true or not – I don’t know enough about Aspergers specifically to comment – Christopher certainly seemed authentic from my experience of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. And to exist inside the mind of someone with such alien thought patterns makes for a fascinating, enlightening reading experience.
I think, in a lot of ways, that’s what reading is all about. It’s nice to spend some time with someone familiar, but most of the time reading takes us outside of our general day to day experience, be that because it’s full blown fantasy or simply because the protagonist does the things we think about, but never actually do.
Christopher’s story is one of hope and triumph over adversity. He’s difficult, stubborn and thinks so differently, but you find yourself growing to like him very quickly, and rooting for him. You’re yelling at the people who don’t understand his condition – the police officers and the strangers on the street and the shop workers – and that’s where the power of the story truly lies, because you understand Christopher as a character, and you empathise with him, and it makes you hate that other characters in the story are so ignorant.
Through his murder mystery adventure, Christopher teaches the reader a valuable lesson about tolerance and understanding. It’s never preachy or overbearing, because Christopher himself isn’t preachy or overbearing. A lot of schools I know of teach this book, and I can understand why.