A Monster Calls
Thursday, January 19, 2012Posted by Melissa (Avid Reader)
A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
A 13-year-old boy, Conor, lives alone with his mother and is trying to come to terms with her battle with cancer. One night a monster comes to his window. What follows is an eye-opening experience, for both the boy and the reader as the monster tells three tales and tries to explain their meanings.
Everyone was right about this one, it’s just beautiful. It feels so intimate and honest. For me the story of losing your mom to cancer as a tender teen is one that still opens a deep wound in my heart. It is a sensitive spot for me and invokes a visceral pain that never quite heals over. As I read this I was 13 all over again, seeing my mom's bald head for the first time, freshly bare from another round of chemo.
The book reminded me quite a bit of “The Book of Lost Things.” It’s a grown-up fairy tale in some ways. I loved the character of the Monster. He’s sort of a condescending, grumpy old man, saying things like, “You thought I walked across time to teach you about niceness?” Yet at the same time he manages to show Conor an understanding that he deeply needs.
I can't even describe how beautiful the illustrations are. They are just captivating; filled with dark shadows and twisting vines, a combination of both beauty and fear. They reminded me a little bit of the illustrated section in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
If you haven’t read this one yet, I hope you’ll pick it up soon. It’s a powerful reminder that life is often not fair and the world holds much worse things than monsters. It looks at those dark truths and yet somehow provides some comfort in the midst of the sorrow.
"Villages grew into towns, towns into cities. And people began to live on the earth rather than within it."
“Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn't expect.”
All images from the book