Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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I’ve heard about this book about this book two years ago around the same time I was reading the Fault in Our Stars. For some reason, people kept bringing up the two them together, drawing comparisons. One day, I was at a bookstore sale and saw the beautiful edition that I’ve had on my Book Depository wishlist forever and, of course, I had to get it. I was confronted with opportunity to go spend 3 hours at the dentist’s a few days ago. And before I left the house, I made the very good decision of taking this book with me.

I’m one of these people who aren’t too concerned with romance. I think that there aren’t enough books about friendship and love within a family, books that represent that sort of life I lead. This is a very sad book about a fragile, young boy and his mother who has cancer. It sounds fairly simple, and most of the time, the story really is simple. And I suppose that this is what makes it so powerful.

I perused Goodreads yesterday to see what other people thought of the book. Some people call the story a ‘legend’ of some sort due to the monster that visits the young boy, Conor, ever so often and infests his ‘dreams’. For me, it felt a lot like a psychological disorder, but maybe that’s just the medical student in me talking. So despite popular opinion, I’m going to stick to my view of the matter because if the monster is a metaphor for a psychological disorder or is a manifestation of it, the book becomes ten times more powerful, or so I believe.

There is something about this book that digs up your biggest fear and keeps it lingering in the back of your mind all the time. I went to bed that night with the thoughts that terrify me the most, wondering if they’d harangue me in my sleep. That’s how powerful it is.

Another aspect of this book that I found unique is how it really gets into the suffering of a kid and how his mother’s illness got to him. This is what makes this book so heartbreaking: we rarely get to see the story from this side. And the thing is, no matter how you try to imagine it or guess how it would be, it’ll still shock you how Conor ends up feeling even though it’s fairly obvious. It’s because what it turns out to be is something we’d rather believe isn’t true.

What keeps this book together though and makes the blow quite hard is the consistent atmosphere throughout the story. It’s eerie and gloomy, yet hopeful in all the right places and that makes it seem so real, so tangible, so familiar and so it makes you crumble. I daresay I crumbled a little bit more than necessary; I cried and that hasn’t happened in a long time for me with a book.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to experience YA in a different light. For those who love being moved to tears by words. For anyone who wants a quick but also profound and meaningful read.

Let me know if you’ve read it, what you’ve thought of it, and all that jazz.

Lots of Love!

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One thought on “Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

  1. I read The Crane Wife by Ness and while the first 40+ pages had me enthralled with his wonderfully lyrical language, the remainder of the book kinda ruined it for me. I gather that one book may not be a typical representation of his writing style, however. I don’t know if I want to read this one or not, but I admit you have me very curious, especially comparing it to Green’s TFioS! And, in my humble opinion, stating your own unique reaction/interpretation of each read is the whole point of blogging reviews! I never apologize when my viewpoint appears to be unique among others, and, again, in my humble opinion, neither should you! I’m rather fascinated due to your unique review! Nicely done!!

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