An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. 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 monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined. (From: Goodreads)
***Actual rating: 5/5 Letting-Go Stars***
Oh my god, where should I begin? A Monster Calls is a life-changing story that everyone ought to read it at least once in a lifetime. There’s a real monster and there’s not, because in my opinion, that imaginary monster is like the personal demon living in our hearts. From time to time, we face numerous kinds of hardship, deal with various problems (both physically and emotionally) and still need to pluck up the courage to survive. That’s what this book aims to teach us.
Conor is a ten-year-old boy who knows (deep down in his heart) for sure that his mum is probably not going to defeat the cancer but as an ordinary human being, he chooses to believe in hopes and holds on to it until the end.
Belief is half of healing.
However, with the
help haunting of the yew tree monster, it slowly guides him through the process by making him see the inevitable.
Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary.
At first, I’m not sure if Conor really understands what’s about to happen to his mum and him because he always seems so naïve and keeps on avoiding the truth. As the monster tells him more tales, I start to get the full picture of where this story is leading us to. Besides, Conor’s father and grandma (even the bullies and Lily at school) also play a crucial role in reminding him of the world around him.
Conor frowned. “It’s okay?”
“Don’t worry about it,” his father said, going back to his breakfast. “Worse things happen at sea.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means we’re going to pretend like it never happened,” his father said, firmly, “because other things are going on right now.”
Sometimes just because you’re waiting for something doesn’t mean the whole world is doing the same. It just keeps moving on and will never stop for a minute because of you.
Then, somehow, he was back at school again. As incredible as it seemed, time kept moving forward for the rest of the world.
The rest of the world that wasn’t waiting.
Among all those tales the monster tells Conor, I’m impressed with the fourth and last one most.
Not only because it’s the most painful, most unfathomable, yet purest truth but the reality we all have to face one day (or perhaps, we’re facing it already). Maybe it’s a little bit complicated for children to fully grasp the meaning, but they will eventually.
It was only a thought, one of a million. It was not an action.
From my viewpoint, the most precious part of this book is that the story alters my perspective and mindset with each turning point, either the point in the tales or that from the overall story.
In other words, the monster is actually
paving the road to the ultimate nightmare-comes-true giving Conor a psychological preparation for the outcome he can never escape from.
A Monster Calls is truly a masterpiece because of Patrick Ness‘s splendid writing skill. It’s amazing how a children’s book is able to make me cry so easily and that’s something I’ve never experienced before. I will share my thought on the author’s essay in this special edition of my copy later and you’ll know why this book is so magical. Lastly, A Monster Call is definitely a MUST READ for everyone!
[My thought on the exclusive essay by Patrick Ness]
I’m beyond excited to buy this new version of A Monster Calls which includes an essay from the author about why he wrote the story. As many of you may know, the original idea of the story isn’t from Mr. Ness, it’s from Siobhan Dowd instead. Unfortunately, the latter writer died from breast cancer way too early in her life. Mercifully, the publisher decided to ask Mr. Ness for completing this “small project” despite the fact that he initially didn’t want to do so.
…there was so much power in what she’d put down that I thought, why not give it a try.
Annnnnd, voila! A phenomenal piece of work is here, presented right in front of us readers and highly appreciated by the public. In his essay, I can feel his genuinity in his words and how surprised he truly feels when he sees the huge success in this book (as well as the movie, I believe).
If people responded to it, great, but either way, we’d really all put our hearts and souls into it. Then kaboom! I had no idea that people would respond in the way they did–I hoped people might, but I never thought they would, certainly not in the way that they have.
As the monster mentions in the story,
There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere inbetween.
This book is probably categorized as a children’s reading material, but most of the time, their story books are actually for adult readers. My mom used to say that she learned a lot from reading stories to me and that she truly thinks children’s books are much more meaningful than other novels.
I’ve always felt A Monster Calls was never solely a book for children. A good story should be for everyone.
Above all, most of the stories we tell our kids are experiences from the adults or something we’ve had in our teenage/childhood. So to some extents, when we’re passing on stories to them, we’re kind of seeing our flashbacks in lives. Finally, I’d like to end my review here with a quote from Mr. Ness that I can’t agree with more. I hope you’ll enjoy this book as much as I do and may the story live on with the rest of your life!
The journey into adulthood is a journey from innocence into knowledge, but I think it’s also a journey from perceived simplicity into complexity.