Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Finished: November 11, 2011

Synopsis: This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

Quote: “Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?”

Thoughts: The story behind the making of A Monster Calls is just as sad as the story itself. Patrick Ness has taken the final idea of the late author Siobhan Dowd and turned it into a reality, fit to honor the author herself. Siobhan Dowd died of cancer before she could finish the story, and Patrick takes it into capable hands and creates a story he hopes Siobhan would have been proud of. The story itself is a tale of Monsters. Monsters that form themselves from large Yew trees, the Monsters hidden deeply in our own hearts, and the Monsters of diseases that take away loved ones far too soon.

The illustrations in this novel are haunting. They fit so perfectly inside the story itself that the novel would not have been complete without them. 

The writing flows beautifully. It never comes across as melodramatic, or as if it’s taking the subject of grief and making a joke out of it. This novel reaches to the core of some of our most private moments as human beings, the ones we feel are so ugly, we’d rather not allow anyone to see.

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”

I feel that this novel might appeal to anyone who has lost a loved one to this terrible disease. For some though, perhaps it would hit a little too close to home. This novel is very hard to take in, so I feel that I should leave here having given that warning. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go hug everyone I’ve ever met. 


Five out of Five Coffees


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