A Book Devoured: Review of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls book cover

British author Patrick Ness is becoming one of my all-time favourite authors. Every book I've read of his has been a knockout and A Monster Calls is no exception.

Ness wrote this story based on the original idea of his friend and fellow writer, Siobhan Dowd, who passed away from cancer. The story follows a young boy named Conor who is dealing with some very big issues. First, his mother is sick. Secondly, all the kids at school ignore him and he never can get punished, no matter what he tries to do. Thirdly, every few nights, at precisely 12:07 am, Conor is visited by a gigantic, terrible monster. This monster has great tearing limbs and a menacing voice and it wants something from him. It wants something from Conor that terrifies him to the core of his being.

As far as a review goes, I don't know what to say about this book except that you have to read it. Repeat: you have to read this book. It's quite short, I literally read it in a week just on the commute to work, but it is one of the most powerful stories I've read in awhile. Ness seems to be making a career out of writing stories about children facing extraordinarily grownup situations and this book certainly delves into some pretty serious realms.

Ness does a masterful job of bringing you into Conor's world and immersing him into his experience, as if he were a living person. I have been fortunate enough to never have had to experience the loss of a loved one, but after reading about Conor's slow steps to inevitability, I now feel I understand it a little more.

A Monster Calls leaves you a little devastated, kinda weepy, and a little angry. It all seems to end too fast. It feels a bit unfair even. The story ends before you're ready to let it go and yet it also feels finite and concluded. While this all may sound rather confusing and depressing, it's actually not. It's pretty amazing how much Ness is able to convey so much in this short book and I kinda wonder if a child read this, how much they would understand. That wouldn't stop me from recommending it though and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Available for purchase on Amazon.
See more of my recommended reads here.

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