Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review: "A Monster Calls" by Patrick Ness

The monster comes to Conor O'Malley like most nights, but this time it is a different monster.  It isn't the usual nightmare, and Conor isn't sure what to think of this new monster - the one who claims to have been called here to him, the one who wants to tell Conor three stories and then have Conor tell him his story, his truth.  And that right there just might be scarier than the usual nightmare - telling his truth.  What does he tell about?  What is his truth?  Is it his loneliness?  Is it about his mother and her cancer treatments?  Is it his feeling about his father, gone off to America with his new wife?  What is Conor's truth?

This story is amazing, just amazing.  My whole being aches for Conor.  He is so isolated - at home, at school....  he doesn't have anyone he feels like he can talk to about anything.  In fact, he mentions how he is so invisible that he can go nearly all day without talking with anyone.  All the other students and teachers know that his mom is sick, and instead of comforting him or supporting him in any way - they leave him alone.  The monster coming makes sense.  I also loved where the monster originates, how he is shaped into being - it shows that he is organic and natural, and what he wants from Conor is natural.  Hard and difficult but natural.

The illustrations throughout this book are phenomenal.  They absolutely capture the emotion that flows through the text, and are simply stunning.  If you read this digitally, please make sure you are able to view Jim Kay's illustrations as part of the pages... you will be doing yourself a great disservice otherwise.

I really feel like recommending this book to everyone.  Perhaps it may be harder for those experiencing a loss like Conor, in fact I'm sure it would be, but it could also be helpful.  I have not been in Conor's shoes myself, not exactly, but I still feel like the underlying theme is important to remember no matter what, no matter one's circumstances.

*****
A Monster Calls 
by Patrick Ness
Candlewick Press, 2011
205 pages
Source:  Purchased New
*****


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7 comments:

ChristasBooks said...

I recently finished Patrick Ness's The Crane Wife which I thought was good but not great. People have told me this one is much better and from the sounds of your review it definitely sounds like something I need to check out

geoffwhaley.com said...

The cover is terrifying!

Heather said...

I just a happy dance at my desk because you read THIS BOOK! I loved it so much. I'm so glad you did too!

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

@geoff - you should see some of the illustrations inside! Beautiful and dark ink drawings... lots of feeling in them.

Andi said...

I read this one because Heather (Capricious Reader) made me do it and insisted "it's a good cry." Which it was. But it still ripped my heart out and stepped on it. Such beautiful writing.

Aarti said...

I loved this book, too. It really was beautifully written, and I agree - it's the good kind of crying.

Wesley said...

This was my first Patrick Ness read and now I read everything of his I can get my hands on. He's gifted!

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