You haven’t written to me yet, so I know that you are probably still angry with me. I’m sorry Christopher. But I still love you.
The reader views Christopher’s mother, Judy Boone, solely through Christopher’s consciousness of her. Both Christopher and the reader experience a shock when he finds her letters. As Christopher reads her letters and transcribes them for his book, Judy Boone’s complexity as a character emerges, and readers begin to see her love for Christopher as well as the selfless reasons why she left him.
I was looking through some old photos last night, which made me sad.
Judy Boone admits feeling sorrow as she reflects back on her life with Christopher. She spends a lot of the time in her letters describing her new life to Christopher, a weak but genuine way to reconnect. Judy Boone’s letters reveal her heartbreak from leaving Christopher. Even though she establishes a new life, she spends time going through old photos of her and her son together, revealing her refusal to completely let go of her old life.
And you played with it for weeks and weeks and weeks and we bought you more trains and you knew where they were all going. I liked remembering that a lot.
In an attempt to make a connection with Christopher in her letters, Judy Boone writes about special moments between them, telling him how she remembers these moments fondly. Judy writes over forty letters to Christopher, none of which receives a reply. Yet, she persists in sending them, showing a loyalty and devotion to her son.
I was not a good mother, Christopher.
After a few letters, Judy Boone begins to offer Christopher an explanation for why she left. Like Ed Boone, she must also repair a broken trust with her son. She must come clean and tell Christopher the truth to help him understand her actions. Here, she offers her brutally honest evaluation of herself as a mother.
I’m not like your father. Your father is a much more pacient person.
Judy Boone readily admits in her letters to Christopher that she does not have the patience that his father Ed Boone has. She recounts a trip to a department store during which Christopher experiences a breakdown and she can’t cope with his emotions. In her letters, Judy Boone reveals herself to be a caring, yet limited character.
But that’s not the way I am and there’s nothing I can do to change that.
Judy Boone understands her limitations, and where one person might be dishonest and promise to overcome their limitations, Judy Boone resignedly admits she cannot. Readers know from her letters that Judy Boone tried to remain calm while raising Christopher, but she failed. Judy Boone’s letters portray her limitations as well as her struggles to better herself, and in doing so represent honesty.
But I said I couldn’t take it anymore and eventually he got really cross and he told me I was being stupid and said I should pull myself together and I hit him …
Both Judy Boone and her husband resort to physical violence when their emotions overcome their reasoning. Here, Judy admits in her letters to Christopher that she hit his father Ed Boone when things become too heated. Readers know that Ed Boone hits Christopher when he loses his temper, too. Through both of Christopher’s parents, readers get a glimpse of the intense challenge of raising Christopher.
And I remember looking at the two of you and seeing you together and thinking how you were really differant with him.
In her explanation for why she left, Judy Boone tells Christopher that she felt that things would be better without her. In many ways, she uses facts to justify her actions—Ed Boone demonstrates far more patience with Christopher than she has, and life seems calmer when he and Christopher are left alone. Christopher’s mother might seem to take the easy way out, but in her mind, she does what she believes to be best.
And it made me so sad because it was like you didn’t really need me at all.
Before readers meet Judy Boone, one could make a valid assumption that Judy might be selfish for leaving Christopher. However, this quote from one of her letters reveals her grief over her own insignificance as Christopher’s life goes on after leaving him. Her emotional limitations exclude her from her family, just like Christopher’s autism disorder excludes him from the world.
Look. It’s only an exam. I can ring the school. We can get it postponed. You can take it some other time.
In a disappointing move, Judy Boone demonstrates the same traits of impatience she describes in her letters. Under immense stress navigating her unraveling life in London with Mr. Shears and meeting Christopher’s needs, she caves in to her weakness. She tells Christopher that he can’t take his test because things are too chaotic. Judy Boone struggles to manage all the concerns of people who depend on her but life easily overwhelms her. However, she minimizes the importance of the exam, leaving Christopher to feel keenly the pain of her stress.