*danielle*'s Reviews > A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
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Jun 02, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: life-changing, grab-your-tissues-and-weep, fantasy, weird-and-wonderful, kids-and-adults-crossover
Read in May, 2011

So, to the main concern I had picking up this book: Would Patrick Ness do Siobhan Dowd's idea justice?
Answer: Absolutely, with more skill than I thought possible.

I have to say, that for a two hour read, it certainly packs one hell of a punch. It's a story I've heard retold a number of times with varying success: the struggle of a teenage boy whose mother is suffering with cancer, whose family is falling about, who is bullied at school... (Think of somewhere between "Follow Me Down" and "Skellig" and you're someway there!) But this handled with such a strange mixture of absolute tenderness and brutal honesty that it stands out by far from other similar novels.
Accompanied by darkly beautiful illustrations by Jim Kay, which added a wonderful feast of imagery to be gorged on, the story of Conor, his mother, and the yew tree is one that possesses the rare talent of being able to make you laugh out loud seconds before reducing you to tears. The simplicity of language and of plot makes what at times is a harrowing read much more accessible. Without wanting to spoil the ending, Conor has to face up to a truth which those faced with loss will all be familiar with, yet which I have never heard spoken; but which Ness presents to us as a very human truth in a climaxing scene which is shocking, terrifying, haunting, deeply disturbing... and yet, somehow, oddly healing.
For those faced with loss, I suspect this would be a book to read to feel a little less alone. For those, like me, who have seen friends go through similar trauma, it helps us understand just a small portion of what they're thinking.
A special book, a stunning book: a book for humans.
One of the best books I've ever read.
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Quotes *danielle* Liked

Patrick Ness
Stories are the wildest things of all, the monster rumbled. Stories chase and bite and hunt.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“You do not write your life with words...You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“I wish I had a hundred years, she said, very quietly. A hundred years I could give to you.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
But what is a dream, Conor O'Malley? the monster said, bending down so it's face was close to Conor's. Who is to say that it is not everything else that is the dream?
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“Stories don't always have happy endings."

This stopped him. Because they didn't, did they? That's one thing the monster had definitely taught him. Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn't expect.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls


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