A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
[Image courtesy of bookdepository.com]
This is a book that needs to be read in one seating, preferably in a private and cozy place. I’m glad that was what I did, because anything else would have tainted one’s ability to feel the story. And because I cried buckets when I reached the end.
I cried because I didn’t just feel for Conor, the thirteen-year-old boy in the story. I felt what he was feeling, because I went through the same anger, grief and guilt when a loved one struggled to live for six months before we finally decided to let go. During those six months, there were times when I wished for everything to end, and then an enormous tide of guilt would follow. It was a period of emotional roller-coasting (if there is even such a word), and when it ended, I was hit by a mixed wave of grief, relief and guilt. I didn’t want to let go, but I had to, and was ashamed that I felt relieved when I finally did. The writer, through Conor and his yew tree monster, described it exactly the way I had felt.
The book has been made into a film, which is scheduled for screening in December this year. I just watched the trailer on Youtube. I think the movie is going to provide more context and less room for one’s imagination to take flight, but I also think it’s going to make me cry harder, so I’m still undecided whether I will watch it.
Maybe I’ll just buy it off iTunes when it’s out and watch it in the privacy of my home.
VERDICT: This is a book that I can strongly relate to, so I’m not sure I will be able to provide a fair verdict on it. But then, book reviews are mostly subjective anyway, so my take is that if you think you’re going to watch the movie this December, I say read the book first.
For those who want to know a little about the story line, here’s an overview from bookdepository.com:
Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Bestselling novelist Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves a heartbreaking tale of mischief, healing and above all, the courage it takes to survive.