The first time I read a book by Patrick Ness, I fell in love instantly. The Knife Of Never Letting Go is one of my most favorite reads for this year and I have become a huge fan of this amazing author I consider royalty. So when I learned that some bookish friends are planning a buddy read of Patrick Ness’s newest book, A Monster Calls, I decided to join in. Thanks to Aldrin for giving me an ebook copy! 🙂

What reading buddies is all about I have explained in an introductory post and for our reading buddies discussions, you can check out my previous posts.

The story of A Monster Calls is originally and idea of British writer Siobhan Dowd, but because of her untimely death due to breast cancer, Patrick Ness was tasked to continue and finish with the book.

A Monster Calls tells about 13 year old Conor who is constantly bullied in school and keeps getting nightmares every time he goes to sleep. His father left him and his mother while he was still very young. Worst of all, his mother is very sick and does not seem to get better. And then one night, a monster yew tree comes to him and forces him to tell the truth. What is this truth? Can Conor’s life get any better?

When I first read the title, I thought that the book was just your typical horror story meant to frighten and scare. But scared definitely I was not. In the first place, the monster yew tree was not portrayed as scary. Patrick Ness wants to convey to his readers that there are other scarier things in life than monsters. That real life is scarier than nightmares.

A Monster Calls is a story meant to make the reader think and assess his life. It is a reflection of dying and living, of hoping and letting go, of guilt and being honest. It is a strong encouragement to be truthful at all times, especially to oneself. Most of all, it is a deeply emotional story. I became teary-eyed at several parts and my heart just went out to Conor, how he tried to cope with his looming loss and how he desperately hoped for his mom to get better.

I particularly liked the stories told by the monster to Conor. They are stories that accurately reflects the complexity of human nature. That man is not an abstract being – not entirely good, not entirely bad. That he is not defined by his thoughts but by his actions.

You do not write your life with words, the monster said. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.

Way back in college, I remember studying the different stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think Connor was able to go through all of these stages, and this is what makes A Monster Calls good fiction – because it is able to depict reality.

A very powerful and deeply moving story. I strongly recommend this to everyone.

5 stars.

36/50 2011 Goodreads Reading Goal.

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