A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

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This was a really enjoyable book that put into perspective the horror and pain of losing a loved one to such a dreadful illness. It portrayed how aching it is to watch the ones you love in pain and how much strength it takes to open your eyes and see situations for what they really are.

A Monster Calls tells of the story of a young boy called Conor who has had a terrifying nightmare, continuously from his mother took ill. The monster in his nightmare is the reason he fears sleeping, he refuses to talk about it and avoids the topic altogether if he can. Then one night he is visited by a monster in the shape of a tree outside of his window. It isn’t the same monster as in his dream but it wants something from Conor that scares him just as much as his nightmare, it wants the truth.

This book delves into the mind of a young boy who is trying to understand his life since his mother has taken ill. Falling into the way things are such as taking on extra responsibilities, he finds it difficult knowing that people are aware of his situation. Throughout the book there is a surrounding numbness as Conor battles to bury his true feelings about what is going on around him as he sees his mother’s illness as a temporary state of affairs. I felt sorry for him in some places because although he is old enough to make his own dinner or do the washing up, there are also moments where you can see a vulnerable young boy who is being withheld information or is being tiptoed around.

I found it very interesting how in the book many of the characters were making themselves known to Conor as someone to talk to or someone trying to help. However it was an unusual angle for him to be so aware of all of it, how he didn’t want their help, and how all he wanted was a fraction of normalcy to his day and to forget for a few minutes that his life was difficult and tough. I felt that it really put into perspective that when people are trying to help by attempting to make things easier for people during difficult times, they can at the same time alienate them, maybe even make their situation more harrowing by drawing little or no attention to the individual.

This book was definitely about more than a monster, it was an intriguing page- turner but also a thought- provoking and reflective read. The direction that this plot took was so realistic and on a level that I believe many people can relate to. Without a doubt it opened my eyes and left me thinking about others in similar situations and if something like this ever crossed my path how I would act or feel.

Over on goodreads I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars as I genuinely loved it, the writing and the characters and would highly recommend it. It gives me all the more reason to pick up more work by Patrick Ness and most likely the Chaos Walking trilogy as it has been on my wish list for an awful long time.

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