A Monster Calls, Written by Patrick Ness and based on an idea of Siobhan Dowd, is a novel about a 13 year old boy, Connor, dealing with his Mother going through a terminal illness through encounters with a Monster, who comes to him at night. This Monster tells Connor stories that connect to Connors life in ways Connor doesn’t expect or like, and wishes to hear the truth that Connor keeps secret inside his dreams. A Monster Calls is very fast paced and so is very quick to read. It is around 200 pages long but I managed to finish it in about a day as it was very easy to read and very hard to put down.
Ness’ writing conveys complex and realistic emotional turmoil using beautiful imagery, combined with a simple writing style, making this novel perfect for all ages. It manages to express the difficulties that these circumstances can have on young children without getting bogged down in paragraphs of description, instead keeping things brief but still incredibly effective and engaging. Connor’s emotional journey isn’t safe or pandering, but instead focuses on the darkness that can be brought to the surface when dealing with loss; it deals with all stages of grief that a person would feel, whether they be adult or child. Ness treats the mind of a child as seriously as one would treat an adult; Connor isn’t blind to the things that are happening and doesn’t hind behind childish emotions, and so someone of any age could relate to his story. A Monster Calls is a perfect blend of drama and fantasy, as the Monster embodies Connors emotional chaos while also helping him understand the emotions and encounters Connor can’t grasp. The Monster tells story’s that contain their own lessons and meanings, and add up to a great overall message about the complexity of a humans mind and the lies we tell ourselves. Most importantly though, the story is simply very touching and engaging, and even if you don’t care about the subtext and meaning you will still be gripped by the story due to its relatability and fully understood characters.
A Monster Calls is a beautifully written novel for all ages. It deals with complex emotions in a simple and easy to read way and can be read in no time at all. It’s definitely worth the weekend it would take to read. A truly lovely read.
P.S I only picked this book up because I saw the trailer for the upcoming film and thought it looked interesting, and I’m very glad I did because I now can’t wait to see the film!