A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is not a widely known novel but it is absolutely beautiful. It was inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, who was unable to write it herself because she was inflicted and taken by cancer. It follows a young boy, Conor, facing his own monster—the fear of losing his mother to cancer. Knowing that the novel was not just written as a story, but as a dedication, makes it all the more moving.
The illustrations by Jim Kay throughout the story are stunning and the absence of color successfully grasps that darkness which the story portrays. When one thinks ‘illustrations,’ think of animated sketches and undetailed characters—not of such an obscure tail. The images are those of a nightmare, of the monsters which all children fear, making it an almost deranged picture book.
It is fact that this book need be publicized more and shown to the world because it is genuine and flawless. In the words of John Green, “Patrick Ness is an insanely beautiful writer.” The story holds honesty to a matter which is hard to cross successfully, but Ness does effortlessly.
Ness does not lie. The end is not uplifting or joyful but depressing and bittersweet. As Conor faces his biggest fear, he tells the truth and by that is able to accept the truth. As a writer I must say it successfully leaves the reader with something to think about; resentful truth, breaking strength, and the cruel reality of devastation.
It is most likely that you have not read A Monster Calls, and thus I part with only the recommendation that you read it before anything else. It is a short read but a valuable one. It is one of the few books I believe is truly perfection.
Written by Geena Elghossain on June 29, 2013