I just finished reading a Monster Calls by Patrick Ness for my Young Adult Book Club 's August book club pick. Yes... I cried. I NEVER cry while reading a book.... apparently I do now. Here is the goodreads description:
This book is great... all of you who are stopping by and actually reading this review... go read this book now!! I have never read Siobhan Dowd's novels. But after reading this book I really want to. This book is AMAZING. I hate to admit it but I actually was crying the last few pages. CRYING.
Maybe I was all emotional because I have to admit as I have been getting older I have though about my parents getting older. Will they get sick when it's time to die or will they die in the night? How will I handle it and react? So as I was reading the last few pages I understood what Conor was feeling a little. Now that I am done reading I have to admit I grew to love all the characters in this book. It kinda made me hope that when I go through this time in my life (losing my parents) that perhaps the monster will show up for me. I think a lot of people like this books because it hits home for a lot of people about death. Most people fear losing someone... even a pet. We either can't imagine what it would be like or have been through it and appreciate how Ness has written about it. I am reading all the reviews on goodreads and love reading all the personal experiences that are included in them for this particular book. I don't see that too often but it seems to bring out a lot of human emotion.
Monster: I think the monster was some type of ancient magic. I don't think it was Conor's imagination because it was teaching him lessons that Conor couldn't learn on his own. How could Conor's mind know those stories... though I suppose he could make it up. I just like the idea maybe that it is some type of magic. The monster seems to be evil and good at the same time. I was so happy for Conor when he told his own nightmare at the end of the book. I like that the monster lead him that way. I like how the monster is mysterious. Answers in riddles so Conor has to figure things out, it brings a type of horror to the story which this group never usually reads. The illustrations of the monster are wonderful!!! This website has amazing information on them. Here is Jim Kay's website: http://www.jimkay.co.uk/Jim_Kay_Illus... for those of you reading it on an ereader like me and having a hard time seeing the illustrations go to this site! You can see them much better. What I like most about the monster is it really isn't important to the story what the monster is. Which is why the monster says he has so many names. What is important is what the monster is doing to help/hurt Conor. Which we find out later is helping him. I just love the monster!
Bullying: I still wonder how old Conor is. I think that ignoring him at school really isn't bullying. I think it's just people think he is acting like an oddball and so they avoid him. Though it kinda reminds me of the shooting here in Colorado at Columbine High School. Those two boys were ignored too. I think as people get older this type of behavior stops. I never ignored anyone in college because they were different. Unfortunately I think this is mainly a youthful behavior. I do like stories that focus a little on bullying. I always hope some young adult will really read that book and maybe take something away from it. In this book though... it turns out that being noticed really isn't a good thing. The boys who bullied him were a little odd. I didn't get that the boy Harry noticed him after his mom was sick. At first I thought that was because there was some type of magic on Conor.. but then I realized this really isn't a fantasy novel so I was a little confused. Then he just stopped... (this is before he was beat up). He was going to just ignore Conor. I don't feel like that is something kids do. I think Conor rejects Lily because he is not only mad at her for being the reason the whole school knows but because it is also embarrassing for a girl to protect a boy at that age. I think the grown ups did what they could. If they didn't see the bullying and Conor denies it happened, there isn't much they can do.
Adults: It seemed to me that he already had a bad relationship with his grandma and his dad so it didn't surprise me that in a time of crisis he is very mean to them. I can't imagine how Conor must've felt when basically his dad didn't want to take responsibility for him (living with him) after his mother passes. I love that the grandma was very mature and realized that they didn't have a good relationship and I even felt from her perhaps some guilt for never trying to have one before. I love Conor's mom. She was such a good mom during her sickness. Still smiled every time she saw her son. It was beautiful. I also like the school's faculty. I like that they knew his situation and really did try to help him out. They tried to talk to him and protect him the best he could. Personally I think it's best he go to the new school his grandmother wanted to put him in. Starting over sounds perfect for him to me.
Stories: The stories were great! I really enjoyed them. Sometimes though I had a hard time figuring out the lessons he was supposed to learn until the end of the story when the monster would explain it. That line you quoted from the novel Kritika was my favorite of the novel. It is true!! We are all like that. The Prince story was hard for me though. He killed the princess in cold blood... which was hard to justify. Then the parson kinda did deserve what he got. Too many people become jealous of people and will do things to ruin them just because of envy. I do think being seen can be more lonely then being invisible. Instead of Harry being seen as the mean bully, I think Conor will be seen that way instead.