The Compulsive Reader: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Inspired by Siobhan Dowd

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Inspired by Siobhan Dowd

Conor has been having the same nightmare for weeks. When a monster calls on him in the middle of the night, Conor isn’t afraid—this monster is better than his nightmares. The monster, however, has plans for Conor: he’ll tell him three stories, and when he’s done, Conor will tell the monster about his nightmares.

Early on in the book, it’s easy to see where this story is headed—Conor’s mother is dying, and it is obvious to the reader that the monster is supposed to help Conor confront the inevitable. This may see overtly manipulative, except for two things: Conor does not fear this monster, and the stories that the monster tells are unpredictable, puzzling, and challenging. Conor grapples with his emotions, with physical and mental consequences, and the monster’s awful stories push him to finally confront his own awful truth. This novel is like a punch in the gut, but only because the emotions are so genuine. A Monster Calls is a quick and painfully beautiful read.

Cover Comments: The illustrations on the cover and inside the book are striking--dark and mysterious and beautifully rendered. This is a lovely book, one that definitely ought to be purchased in print.

Book borrowed from the library.

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