Monday, 6 June 2011

A Monster Calls By Patrick Ness (& Siobhan Dowd)

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...
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This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.
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Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel of coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.
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This book is simply amazing. Books always stir my emotions but it's rare that they actually make me cry and that is exactly what this story did! It's heartbreaking, surreal and completely engrossing. It's about a thirteen-year-old boy that is trying to come to terms with his mother having cancer. His fears of losing her are manifested into a terrifying monster that haunts him in his nightmares. One night, at seven minutes past midnight to be precise, a different monster in the form of a yew tree visits him and tells him that he will tell him three tales in return for one from Conor. However, this tale has to be nothing but a truth, a truth that Conor does not want to share as it embodies the fear that he wants so desperately to keep hidden, even from himself.
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Conor is such a brave boy. At home he is actively taking care of himself and doing the housework and at school he is trying to avoid some cruel and sly bullies. I felt his frustration at the situation he was in but also the denial and emptiness that he'd enforced on himself so he could cope with the huge emotions he was feeling.
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Reading this book now brings back many emotions and memories for me because this time last year was when my Dad had started to become unwell and later on in October we found out that his symptoms were due to cancer. After the removal of a kidney, almost 3 months in hospital, and now 12 hours of dialysis a week he is back to almost normal. He is also 47 (well 48 next week); the age Siobhan Dowd lost her life to cancer. So what I'm trying to say is that this book now holds a special place in my heart and all the emotions that Conor felt in this story are emotions that resonated with me making this an amazing book for anybody that is dealing with or has dealt with family illness or loss.
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This book is both sad and comforting at the same time. It is filled with dark but beautiful illustrations throughout that makes the book that much more special. It strips back all the layers of life to show the scariest and bare truths of humanity and gives you fresh perspective on what really matters. A completely absorbing book that I urge everybody to read.
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Random Passage: A cloud moved in front of the moon, covering the whole landscape in darkness, and a whoosh of wind rushed down the hill and into his room, billowing the curtains. He heard the creaking and cracking of wood again, groaning like a living thing, like the hungry stomach of the world growling for a meal.
Then the cloud passed, and the moon shine again.
On the yew tree.

2 comments:

mummazappa said...

I can't wait to read this, PN is one of my favourite writers. All the best for your Dad's recovery xx

The Library Owl said...

Thanks :) I really loves The Chaos Walking trilogy and after A Monster Calls he is now one of my favourite authors too.