The Porcupine of Truth is a fairly humorous book with a serious undertone. I really am enjoying this book so far, partly because of the dynamic, relatable characters. Carson, for one, is a characters whose flaws and good parts are highlighted. Throughout the first quarter so far, a reliable trait he has been shown to have is the ability to misunderstand situations quite a lot. One of the first times we see this is at the Billings Zoo, where after meeting Aisha for the first time, instantly assumes she is a zoo employee. He pays her money to take him on a tour, even though her tour is made up of just implausible, yet hilarious, facts. He tends to blindly believe what others tell him, which shows up again when he is on the ‘date’ with Aisha. He instantly assumes that because they are having coffee together, they are on a date and that Aisha is into him. However, Aisha is a lesbian, and although she was kind of pretending to like him, Carson assumed a little too much. I am interested to see if this will continue to be a present theme of the book, and how that will impact Carson’s strained relationship with his mother and his father.
Another character trait that both Aisha and Carson share is their use of humor as a shield. One of the very first things that Aisha says to Carson is that at the zoo, the snow leopard got kicked out of his house for being gay, and which we later find out is the case for Aisha. She has to deal with a lot, knowing that her father didn’t care enough about her to let her stay, and with homelessness. Using humor seems to be a way to help her cope with that. It was probably another thing that brought her and Carson together. Carson has to deal with his estranged dad who is now dying, and his strained relationship with his mother, and with the possibility that his grandfather might be alive. Carson makes a lot of jokes and would rather improvise something funny then talk about the things that are going on in his life right now. Aisha and Carson can both see a little bit of themselves in each other, which I think is one of the reasons they became close so quickly; they both really ‘get’ each other. Overall, I think the first quarter of the book is really intriguing so far and I am excited to see how the characters and plot develop.