A MONSTER CALLS by PATRICK NESS
How it begins: “The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”
This was a short book, as far as books that I usually read go. It’s a sorrowful tale of understanding, of loss and of letting go. The story-telling reminded me of the narrator’s lessons from Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper. The lessons are delivered in the character experiences and the lessons are not particularly easy to digest.
The monster comes from a place of fear and of darkness, and essentially stays there, for the subject matter is scary and dark. A boy, already separated from his father by an ocean and a new family is losing his mother far sooner than any boy ever should. And he hates it. And he hates how that makes him act and seem and be seen. And he hates the opposite.
The monster tells stories and tries to scare the boy without success. His anger and guilt leave little room for fear.
As I was reading it, I was always ready for the inevitable loss. There was no happy ending. And there is nothing like losing a parent. Even when you know that it’s coming.
A Monster Calls is a powerful tragedy about a conflicted boy, a punishing tree and a mother who has run out of time. It’s a quick and meaningful read about loss and sorrow and the honesty that fills those feelings.