A Monster Calls
By Patrick Ness
Illustrator: Jim Kay
Publisher: Walker Boots
Genre: Fantasy/Magical Realism
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 one 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 is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
A Monster Calls is one those rare titles that I feel awkward slapping a “YA” label on. So I have opted to simply leave it under Fantasy and magical Realism for the time. I would easily read this to my own children or recommend it to a coworker.
If I had to describe A Monster Calls with one word, it would be eloquent. I was not prepared for what happened as I read the story of Conor and his journey to uncover his own truth as he dealt with his mother’s battle against cancer. Struggling with recurring nightmares, Conor is visited by a monster who will share three tales with him. He only asks one thing in return. He asks that our young protagonist share his own story. But is Conor prepared to give up the one thing that will force him to acknowledge the truth?
“He didn’t want to go and look. But at the same time, a part of him wanted to look more than anything.”
-Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls
This is an emotional trifecta that takes the reader deep inside of the human heart, exposing the reality behind love, fear, and anger. We are given an unusual glimpse of humanity at its raw core through the eyes of a young boy and his monster. But sometimes the monster is not always what we perceive. Sometimes nightmares conceal a reality we must eventually face.
Exquisite storytelling accompanied by extraordinary illustration weave together a tale of beautiful tragedy and healing. Powerful and resonating, there is a lesson here for all. We are presented with a harsh reality of life and death and what it means to grieve and accept. When faced with fear and loss, we often turn to anger. But underneath the surface there is a very human desire to be seen, to be heard, and above all to heal. Sometimes finding the courage to acknowledge those needs can be the hardest part of the process.
“If you speak the truth, the monster whispered in his ear, you will be able to face whatever comes.”
― Patrick Ness,
This is a voyage deep into the human heart and mind exploring an area they we do not often openly discuss. It is an emotionally charged experience that left me feeling tearful yet serene. A Monster Calls is best left for the reader to explore on their own accord, as there is a fundamental truth and knowledge to be gained the has been presented in an unparalleled fashion. This is a recommended read for all.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐