The original story idea came from children’s author Siobhan Dowdbut, who passed away after being diagnosed with cancer before she had a chance to write it herself. Patrick Ness was asked to turn her work into a book, even though he never really got to meet her. He states that he wanted to write “a book that Siobhan would like” and I believe he’s succeeded. A Monster Calls is a beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated novel about grief, loss and how to get over both of them. It’s heartbreaking!
Conor has troubles at school and he has no one to turn to, he doesn’t even talk to Lily anymore, his former best friend. His mum is getting ill and his father isn’t there, he has moved to America with his new family. One day, at 12:07 a monster shows up. It’s nothing like Conor would expect, at least it’s not the monster from his nightmare. The nightmare that he kept seeing every night, the one with the wind and the darkness and the screaming… The monster tells Conor that he appeared because he wants to help someone and he will tell him three stories, in exchange for a fourth. His story. His truth. And that’s from where everything begins.
The three stories that the monster told to Conor, were sort of like tales, with a controversial moral precept. Everyone will read and understand a different meaning, but the ones that Ness wanted to point out was:
1. There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.
2. Belief is half of all healing. Belief in the cure, belief in the future that awaits.
3. There was once an invisible man, who had grown tired of being unseen. It was not that he was actually visible, it was that people had become used to not seeing him.
This book made me cry several times and it happens to be a children’s book. I would suggest it to EVERYONE. It’s an honest, beautiful and achingly sad book that can move anyone to tears. You may wonder why I haven’t give this book 5 stars. Maybe it deserves it, it probably does. You see, there’s so much hyped around this book and that’s why I expected something mind-blowing and what kept me from being so impressed, was that I found it predictable. I cannot say that I didn’t enjoy this book, I loved it, but I’m just saying..
1. As I was reading, sometimes my eyes were fixed on the illustrations. They were so amazing and it’s no surprise why this book has won an award for it. The black and white background, the monster and some little details next to text were enough to like the book without even having to read it.
2. I really liked Conor. He is probably my favourite character after Oscar from Extremely loud and Incredibly Close. I loved the way he struggled with his friends, how he suffered in silence for his mum. He is a remarkable boy with great qualities and a troubled imagination.
3. Patrick Ness has a wonderful talent of telling stories. It’s a amazing writer, poetic and lyrical in some parts and that made this book even better. I loved the style of writing and I found it very refreshing.
4. The theme of the story is approachable and can touch anyone. A small boy who needs to escape from his horrible life. The story is so well told and Patrick Ness succeed to make this boy’s struggles mine.
5. LOVED ALL THE TALES! Probably, the one I found most hard to understand was the second one.
If you want to see the illustrations and read some of my favourite quotes, you can visit my other blog here.