“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”
Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Illustrator: Jim Kay
Conception: Siobhan Dowd
Why you should read this book: Because it is a really good story about grief and loss and it touches your heart from the very first page.
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”
Maybe I don’t know the real feeling of being slowly stabbed in the heart but I have a feeling that this book comes really close to that.
From the beginning I felt a knife slowly descending into my chest, slowly slowly, until that final sentence when it was all inside my heart. With that, I lost it.
How can a book so short reduce one person to this state is not easy to comprehend but then it is clear. This book is a truth that we don’t want to face. Just like Conor, 13 years old, tormented by a terrible nightmare and visited by a giant yew tree quite often, always 7 minutes after midnight.
We know Conor’s mum is sick, cancer; she is trying yet another treatment but it’s not going too well. Conor knows it but he doesn’t want to see it. Who will want to see that his own mother is not going to make it? Come on!
And if no one sees you, the monster said, picking up its pace, too, are you really there at all?
This monster, shaped like the yew tree he can see from his bedroom’s window, visits him claiming Conor called him. The monster will tell him 3 stories and the 4th will have to be told by Conor, it will be his truth, the one he doesn’t want to tell anyone, the nightmare he doesn’t want to acknowledge.
The stories the monster tells are complex and tricky. You get the meaning after a bit only to get it twisted completely in the end. There’s not only one way to see a story, there’s not only good or bad, black or white. Life is more complicated than that. Life is really hard.
I’m still a little bit shaken by all of it. I understand, that’s the problem, it’s not that I get what is going on in Conor’s mind but I feel his pain and it transferred to me so easily I didn’t even noticed.
“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”
This book is too sad, too important, too touching, too real. The truth in this book is a truth we all, more or less, share. It’s part of being a person and we have to learn to accept it to be able to move forward.
I don’t know what else to say. Read it and share it. It’s important.
Do I recommend it? Of course, with tears in my eyes, yes.