A Monster Calls/Patrick Ness/205 pgs/Children’s Fantasy

THIS! THIS BOOK RIGHT HERE!! This book was just…. stunning. It will stay with me for the rest of my life, and a book I will certainly have my kids read when they’re older. It does say Children’s Fantasy, but I figured it to be rather mature and deep for children, but I’m not sure, I guess it depends of the child. Now, here we go….

A young boy by the name of Conor is facing what no child should face. His mother is dying from cancer. As Conor faces the reality of her impending death, his fears and anxiety take the form of a monster that claims he came “walking” because Conor called him. After telling him three stories, the monster will then hear the forth story from the boy. The truth. The truth Conor fears the most.

Quick Summary

LANGUAGE: Very little, light words.

VIOLENCE: Very little. Young boy beaten badly up by another.

QUALITY: 10/10. Unique and easy form of writing, excellent character development, and a wonderful display of art

OVERALL RATING: Definitely a “must read”. Absolutely indelible.

Now, reading the book, you can guess the ending, but it still…… hurts. I will honest and up front here: I am an EMOTIONAL person, and that is an understatement. Still, this is a very sad book, and it’s not just watching the mother suffer, it’s watching the boy slowly lose his mind, and he isn’t even aware of it. I had to take quite a while after finishing it to gather my thoughts and to just calm down. Despite knowing the end, it’s a slap to the face, because its not about knowing the truth, it’s about admitting it to yourself. So, here we begin…

LANGUAGE: There is very little to nothing to talk about here. There were a few light words, the “d” word and “h” word. There may have been other small ones, but I was too immersed to notice or keep track, even when they did use language it was during times of deep distress or anger, so it’s nothing to worry about.

VIOLENCE: Very little. There is a scene where a boy beats another boy very harshly and sends him to the hospital, but it’s a rather complicated scene. The monster is channeling through the boy, so you kind of hear about it both through the monster and after the incident, but still, pretty violent for a young boy (I believe he’s 13?)

Most of this is very psychological, but not like other books. It’s not dark, it’s not disturbing, it’s just hard. Very difficult to watch this boy go through so much.

QUALITY: Hands down there is nothing wrong. There are many strange aspects to the writing that make you scratch your head, but by the end of it you can’t complain. Let me explain by strange.

The first aspect that was strange was they way Ness spaced his paragraphs. Conor would either be talking to himself or others, when suddenly, Ness would end the paragraph and begin the next one several spaces away, and he would do this several times. Strangely, it didn’t annoy or distract me, in fact, it added to the suspense of the story. The other part that annoyed me is based on my opinion. At the beginning of each chapter, Ness didn’t give a number, such as Chapter 1, he just titled the chapters. This bothers me a little only because of lack of awareness. I like to know how many chapters I’ve read and how many I have left, and I’ve always felt naming chapters gives away too many details, and concerning this book, it did. However, after I finished the book and thought about every part of it, I decided that in the end it worked out just find, it felt that by not numbering chapters everything blended together and time went fast, which is how it was for Conor.

So to sum it up, the quality was fantastic. The character development was brilliant, you could feel everything Conor felt, the emotion was strong and it felt real.

There was an aspect I was in love with: the artwork. It was phenomenal. Stunning and beautiful. It’s only sad in the sense that the book can be misunderstood. If you just looked at the book you would think “Must be some fantasy monster book.” Hardly. I imagined that the monster was a manifestation of the boy’s complicated emotions. So actually, it’s quite psychological, and the art adds even more to it. 

In the end, a definite MUST READ; very beautiful… And you can look forward to some Ponderings next Sunday…