A Monster Calls – Review

The lovely, Fettered Matriarch, reviewed A Monster Calls a few months ago, convincing me to read this short, illustrated novel. Kacy’s review was very persuasive, she and I are quite similar, and I knew I could take her recommendation and run with it. I’m so glad I did because this was a moving story.

At 12:07 every night a monster, resembling the large yew tree in the yard, lurks outside thirteen-year-old Conor’s bedroom window waiting tell Conor stories. Every morning Conor wakes up convinced it was his active imagination. However, there are always remnants from the night before left as evidence of the monster’s existence. The stories don’t make sense to Conor, and he’s left feeling more confused about the lessons the monster is attempting to teach. Finally, the monster refuses to leave until it gets what it wants…the truth.

This was probably not a book I would have picked up on my own because of the title, dark cover, and younger reading level. Again with that first impression of book’s cover and title, and being proven completely wrong. I loved the fantastical elements of this story and the nostalgic feel. Patrick Ness tells the story in a way that can transport even the oldest reader back to childhood. The fear of the unknown as a kid was one of the most oppressive feelings I remember from my own childhood. This novel shoved that feeling back down my throat, putting me directly in Conor’s situation.

Making this novel even more powerful is how the story came to be. The original idea belonged to Siobhan Dowd but sadly was unable to be put into book form before her untimely death. Patrick Ness was able to continue on with the story in her memory, packing quite the emotional punch.

My favorite aspect of this story was the lesson I came away with.
It’s the most important thing in our world, but one of the hardest to face, especially in those dark hours when we’re alone in our beds, left to ponder the mysteries of life. When the monsters come out to play. As our worlds crumble around us, sometimes the last thing we want to see is the truth.

The symbolism was deeply woven into this story, making it something readers of all ages can truly experience and enjoy. All of us deal with hardships, whether they are similar to those that Conor faced or something entirely different, this story is one that is relatable no matter the circumstances.

While this was an emotional tale, I didn’t find myself completely broken up and devastated over the ending. I don’t know if it’s because I figured out the end early on, or because I’ve become old and jaded. Regardless, I found A Monster Calls to be very beautiful, with a similar feel as some of the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. This is one I would recommend to readers across the spectrum looking for something to make them feel, or for those facing similar experiences as Conor.

I’d also like to note how much I enjoyed Jim Kay’s illustrations within the pages. I love his artwork in the illustrated Harry Potter novels. Though his drawings were quite different for this story, they were still very alluring and fit with the plot perfectly.

I’m eager to see the movie‘s representation of this story!

Purchase on Amazon!


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