Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review copy from Pan Macmillan SA
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...
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.
WARNING: This post will probably contain spoilers, so read at your own risk. I do not want to try and censor myself in this post so I am not going to try very hard to not give too much away. I just need to say what I need to say.
I always believe that books will find you when you most need them. This book came to me when I most needed it. Actually, to be completely honest with you, I think that anyone who knows someone who has cancer and is really suffering because of it should read this book.
A Monster Calls does not try to sugar coat what you go through when someone near to you gets cancer. In Conor's case it's his mum, and his whole world gets turned upside down, everything changes - people start treating him differently, because they don't know what to do.
Conor sees his mother's suffering, and he understands and sees as only a few of us really see when someone has been battling cancer for a really long time. He has the mind and heart disconnection when it comes to feelings. He wants his mum to get better, because he needs her. But he wants it all to end because he sees what it is doing to her.
I felt so angry on Conor's behalf at his grandmother for keeping him away from his mum, and at his father for not being a father to Conor but caring more about his new family in America. I suppose that that is just how the world is these days.
Conor's complex struggle dealing with this illness that is taking his mum away from him is so very unfair, and you sort of hate the world for the fact that this is happening to so many people everyday. An unfairness that many people are spared from and that won't fully understand even after reading this book.
A Monster Calls is not a happy book. It is not a fun book. It is a book of truth that teaches many lessons. A book that came from an idea of a woman who was being taken away from cancer. A book that everyone should read, because then maybe, just maybe people would change and learn to care more.