Friday, October 7, 2016

Big Reads: A Monster Calls

I need to interrupt all of my planned posts to tell you guys about A Monster Calls.

I picked this book up from Target last night. I went home, put on my comfy clothes, sat down on my couch, and read the whole. dang. thing.

And I am IN my feelings about it.

Brief synopsis:
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Warning - this is NOT spoiler free. If you haven't read this book, DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS POST. Quickly go read A Monster Calls and then come back and cry with me. It'll be worth it.

Back to the feels... Obviously I loved this book, since I couldn't put it down and read it in one sitting. (That's a common thing with this book, I've read.) It was completely and utterly heartbreaking, and touches on what is probably my second biggest fear.

See, Conor's mom has cancer. She's been undergoing treatment for a while, and nothing is working. She keeps getting sicker and sicker and sicker. She knows this. Conor knows this. But neither of them wants to admit it. One night, the yew tree by the church near his home comes to life and appears at his window. Conor isn't at all afraid because it's not the monster he's worried about. The monster/tree says that he will tell Conor three stories and after the third story, Conor must tell his own story - his truth.

While all of this is going on with the monster, and his mom's cancer, and his grandma (who he doesn't get along with) coming to stay/take care of his mom... On top of all of that, he's being bullied at school. But he doesn't do anything about it because he feels like he deserves it because of the monster he faces in his nightmare (not the yew tree.)

Conor's mother continues to get sicker, his absentee father returns from the states for a very disappointing visit (due to his new family taking priority over Conor and his dying mom.)

The three stories the monster tells Conor are tricky - they all have a little bit of a twist to them that leave Conor feeling frustrated with the unjustness of the world (as if he needs any more proof that the world is unjust.)

After the third story, it's time for Conor to tell his truth. He did summon the monster, after all. I don't want to give everything away, so I'll stop there.

But his truth? It gutted me. And thinking about being in his mother's place gutted me too. Basically, I'm just super gutted. But it was a truly wonderful reading experience. And the book itself is SUPER well written. I'll leave you with a few of my favorite lines:
"But what is a dream, Conor O'Malley? the monster said, bending down so its face was close to Conor's. Who is to say that it is not everything else that is the dream?"
"Stories are the wildest things of all, the monster rumbled. Stories chase and bite and hunt."
"Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?"
These are all within the first 50 pages. I stopped taking note of them then because I was too engrossed in the story.

So, what stories have wreaked havoc with you lately?

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