I need to stop being amazed that authors make me cry, because apparently I?m now a sloppy, sobbing, crying mess when I read. Patrick Ness got me, again.
But this wasn?t just a little bit of water in my eyes or a few tears streaming down my cheeks. This time I was blubbering, weeping, practically wailing by the end of the book. I even had to stay up longer and watch an episode of “The IT Crowd” to laugh and calm down before I went to sleep.
Patrick Ness?s latest attack on my emotions comes from A Monster Calls. Ness wrote the book based upon an idea by author Siobhan Dowd who died of cancer before she had a chance to write it. Ness would?ve made Siobhan proud.
Conor is a teenager whose mother is painfully battling a disease, trying every last-ditch effort to beat it. Living alone with his mother, Conor either ignores the pain she’s in or lies to himself about it, but soon the reality of what he?s facing is front and center when a monster starts visiting him. The monster tells Conor that he will visit him on different nights to tell him three tales. After the three tales he will then expect to hear a tale from Conor.
It probably isn?t surprising that the tales the monster tells help Conor deal with his mother’s disease, but even though the reader can figure that out easily, this is a gripping tale of a child dealing with the horrific realities of a parent leaving him far too soon.
To see how this is all affecting Conor, it isn’t all about the monster. We follow Conor at school where everyone ignores him except the school bully. We see his poor relationship with his grandmother get even worse when she tries talking to him about the future. We see him get angry at his father for living on a different continent with his new family when his old family is falling apart.
And it’s all believable. Even though Conor is a teenager and my teenage years are far behind me, I would go through the same symptoms of denial, anger, loneliness, and painful acceptance. This is written so beautifully that I couldn’t help but feel for Conor, feel with Conor, and cry.
Go read this book. Seriously. But grab a box of Puffs before you start because Patrick Ness will get you too.