The tone of the novel is an interesting blend of clinical and candid. Christopher reports his thoughts and observations without emotion or lyricism, which occasionally creates a sense of deadpan humor. For example, when Christopher explains why he likes dogs, he says, “[S]ome dogs were cleverer and more interesting than some people. Steve, for example, who comes to the school on Thursdays, needs help to eat his food and could not even fetch a stick. Siobhan asked me not to say this to Steve’s mother.” Because the tone is so innocently cold and candid, Christopher can give an unsentimental portrait of a person with special needs. Despite the sense of emotional disconnection that pervades the novel, the reader can see that Christopher’s family loves him and that there’s nothing his father would not do for him, but a lack of resources and understanding of his son’s condition creates frustration and chaos in their family life. Christopher’s parents are neither saints nor villains, and Christopher’s honest yet clinical analysis allows for a nuanced, human portrait of flawed people navigating a very difficult situation.