Christopher’s father often goes to extremes when demonstrating his emotions, occasionally blowing up in anger, and he lacks the confidence to work through his problems verbally. When trying to explain himself he stutters and stops and often has trouble connecting sentences. Like Christopher, he has very few friends—Rhodri is the only one the novel mentions. He also feels emotionally devastated by the way his relationship with his wife (Christopher’s mother) ended two years earlier, and because he has no one to help him cope with his emotions, he bottles them up until he explodes in anger during stressful situations.
Christopher’s father lovingly and diligently cares for Christopher, yet he also struggles with the frustration he feels as a result of not always being able to understand Christopher’s behavior. He carefully prepares all of Christopher’s meals according to Christopher’s rigid list of likes and dislikes, but he also becomes angry with Christopher when Christopher misunderstands him. Notably, he is extremely protective of Christopher. This impulse to protect Christopher and his desire to punish Christopher’s mother for the way she left leads him to lie to Christopher about mother’s leaving. As Christopher discovers more and more of the truth about his mother, Christopher’s father can see his relationship with Christopher deteriorating. Christopher’s father must work to regain Christopher’s trust, and the novel’s final chapters focus on his efforts to reestablish a relationship with Christopher.