“I don’t understand. Who’s the good guy?
There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.
That’s a terrible story. And a cheat.
It is a true story, the monster said. Many things that are true feel like a cheat. Kingdoms get the princes they deserve, farmers’ daughters die for no reason, and sometimes witches merit saving. Quite often, actually. You’d be surprised.”
A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Rating: 5/5 stars
This is the story of a nightmare come to life. For most boys Conor’s age, being confronted by a giant tree come to life that threatens untold torment and destruction would terrify them half to death. Conor is not living the life of a typical boy though. He is forced to confront his nightmare in every waking hour, and is unimpressed with his monster’s fantastical threats.
Conor is grappling with the reality that his mom has terminal cancer. He wants nothing more than to escape this fact by disappearing into his daily routines, but with everyone around him conscious of his situation, this becomes an impossibility. Conor is near desperation when a monster comes calling promising to help him in exchange for a story. He puts all his faith into this monster, and follows his instructions, hoping this will provide the answer medicine hasn’t.
Review: This book is AMAZING!!!!!!! Everyone should read it as soon as possible 🙂 There are so many things I loved about it but let’s start with the illustration. While there aren’t pictures in all the editions, it is definitely worth it to try and hunt an illustrated one down. They added so much to the story and there were so well drawn!
I also loved the prose and look forward to reading more books by Patrick Ness in the future! I loved how this story validated everything that Conor was feeling and the actions he took. This doesn’t mean that Conor always took the best course of action, but the reader can easily see and understand why Conor acts the way he does. Ness did a great job of portraying the desperation Conor felt for life outside of home to resume normally, for school to serve as an escape from his reality at home. This is a powerful story that describes the many feelings that children can feel when experiencing grief and depression, and could be a great tool that helps children from ages 10-14 to understand their own grief when experiencing tragedy.