Book: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Release Date: May 5th 2011
Genre: Horror/Illustrated novel
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The monster showed up 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…
This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
´Don´t think you haven´t lived long enough to have a story to tell.´
Patrick Ness is an author who I have heard a lot about, but especially this novel by him is what gets mentioned a lot. Of course with the movie coming this has increased. With the Dutch Goodreads group Books Ever After having chosen this as their fantasy book of the month September 2016, I took that as a good reason to purchase and read this book finally.
I was unaware when I picked up this book that Patrick Ness had been asked to write this book as inspired by another author, Siobhan Dowd. I gather from the author’s note that she passed away. I found it interesting, especially as he had never met her in real life. For me it added a slightly added different dimension to the book.
As for the book itself, I fell in love with it. The story is layered. Emotionally raw. I could feel for Conor and with Conor. Even though I haven’t lost anyone as close as a mother to cancer, I have seen those close to me lose someone close to them to cancer. There is something so very real about the emotions running through this book in only 200 pages.
I went through the rollercoaster with Conor. I was mad at his grandmother with him. Frustrated with his father for him. Near tears. We all knew where the ending was heading towards. There was no surprise in that regard or what the monster had come for, really. But that did not take away from the story as it is so incredibly emotionally packed with sometimes so few words. That is talent. ‘
´Stories are wild creatures,´ the monster said. ´When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?’
I wondered about the stories that the monster told initially, but with the ending that all fell into place. The stories made sense. We humans are contradictory. Sometimes we think things we don’t really mean or think things because of a distorted view on it like on ourselves. We hideaway feelings that we shouldn’t have to hide. Honesty and truth about your feelings, no matter what the situation, is so important. Something I had to learn the hard way as well.
´Stories are the wildest things of all,´ the monster rumbled. ´Stories chase and bite and hunt.´
As much as Conor’s grandmother seemed like a hard ass, she clearly cared for him once you really looked. She wanted to be honest with him. She felt he deserved that. I understand that. I can admire that. I do not have that understanding with his father though.
I thought the illustration were a great addition in their own right. They added to the story. They felt like they were a part of it, not a separate entity. It also added to the sorrowful and haunted feel the entire novel has.
So I would definitely recommend this book if you like magical realism or just like having your heart ripped out and cut into tiny pieces along the way.
‘But what is the dream, Connor O’Malley?’ the monster said, bending down so its face was close to Conor’s. ‘Who is to say that it is not everything else that is the dream?’