A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

a-monster-callsA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is undeniably one of the best books I’ve read this year.  It’s a book I’ve always known I had to read, purely by how many people have recommended it to me. Upon finishing the novel, I knew how I felt about it, but I also knew that reviewing it wouldn’t be an easy task. I still am not quite sure how to write down my thoughts on this novel that has touch me in the way that it did.

It deals with a boy’s journey to accepting his mother’s deteriorating illness and eventual death. Every night, 13 year old Connor has nightmares, until one evening a monster came to visit, one who wants the truth. The story is beautifully written, poignant and heartbreaking. It’s also a tale of a young boy who had to grow up too quickly, with having divorced parents, his dad living in another country and a broken relationship with his grandmother – all while having to deal with his mother’s fight against cancer, which takes a toll on him. Emotionally and psychologically.

It is targeted at young adults and children, but it’s a book I’d recommend everyone to read.  The story about letting go and not having to feel guilty is something that I think all of us could identify with.  It’s an incredibly emotional read, especially for someone who has had to deal with the death of a close relative/loved one, which all of us has to face at some point in our life. There are so many themes in this book I could identify with.  I don’t think my words could do this book justice, but I’ll leave you with a few quotes from the novel, that particularly stood out for me

How can a queen be both a good witch and a bad witch? How can a prince be a murderer and a savior?

The answer is that it does not matter what you think, because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. You wanted her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her. Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both. (page 224)

You do not write your life with words, you write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do. (page 225)

Image source

(The edition I read were without illustrations. I do want to read the illustrated version, as I’ve heard only great things about how the beautiful illustrations supplement the story the book is delivering)

  • Karen

    The illustrations in he version I have are amazing

    • Hi Karen, it’s nice to hear from you again. I can imagine how beautiful that book is. I have the copy, as per the image on this post, but I think the book with illustrations would be wonderful. If I do re-read this one, I’ll get the other copy.

  • Like you, I’ve had this book on my radar for a while, but haven’t been brave enough to read it yet. I keep telling myself that if it’s written with children in mind, I should be able to handle it. Thanks for the nudge. 🙂

    • You would be able to handle it Naomi. It’s just beautiful. I think that it would make you a little emotional at the end and if you’ve ever had to go through a loved one close to you that died, you would be able to identify that feeling, that process of letting go. It might be even more emotional for that reason alone, but hey – it reminds us we have loved and cared. Pls do read it 🙂

  • I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages because it’s so highly recommended. You’ve made me so curious now about some of the themes of the story. It sounds like the way the author expressed his ideas made a tremendous impact on you.

    • It has, definitely. I think even without having experienced a loved one that’s very close to you dying, you’d still find this an emotional read. It’s just one of those humane experiences that everyone can emphasise with or have experienced. I’m sure; you’ll enjoy it

  • Isi

    I’m seeing this book everywhere lately thanks to the film. I didn’t mean to read it because I thought it was “only” for children, but I see it’s a story everyone can enjoy, so I think I’ll give it a chance 🙂
    I’m glad you liked it that much.

    • It’s definitely for everyone. It’s just told in such a compassionate way and it’s a story everyone can relate to. Regardless of how it’s told and who the target audience is.

  • I lvoe this book so much, I’ve purhaps never cried so much in my life.

    • I cried as well. It was a good read. I actually want to read it again, but the illustrated version.