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.
I am not a strong person. When I read a book—a truly amazing book—I can put myself in the characters’ position, even if I have absolutely nothing in common with them because the truth is, with a really amazing book, an author can make you experience things as if you were inside that character’s head. There have been several books that have made me shed a tear or two, but it is a rare thing for me to find a book that moves me to unabashed weeping, the kind of crying that makes my husband wonder if there is something wrong with me. And honestly, there is something very wrong with me because when I’m at this weeping, tear-stained-cheek point, there is no going back.
A Monster Calls is that book I’ve heard so much about, but never really thought it could be as good as everyone said it was. After all, when something is put on such a high pedestal, it almost always fails for me, so I went into this story with my expectations in check.
This book commanded my full attention and even as I struggled to read through the tears, I couldn’t put it down. The writing is beyond beautiful and the relationships between the characters were so completely real. I felt like I really knew Conor, that I’d known him for years.
A little background about me:
Twelve years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was in seventh grade. Now, I noticed that she seemed tired more often, but I didn’t really think much of it. It wasn’t until she was starting her chemotherapy that my parents told me about it. They said they didn’t want me to worry, but all I could think was, “What if she’d died, and I never got the chance to say goodbye?” She has been in remission for almost ten years, but I can’t help thinking how much it hurt that they thought I couldn’t handle knowing the truth.
A Monster Calls was a very personal book for me, and perhaps that’s part of the reason I couldn’t keep my tears in, but I suspect a large part of it has to do with Ness’s spectacular story-telling prowess. This is a book I think everyone should read, and not just for the story itself, but for gaining a new perspective on life. Bad things happen, and there’s often not much we can do to stop them. All we can control is how we react to them.
I hope everyone will give this book a try because it’s not just the beautiful writing or the compelling characters; it’s the story itself, it’s the journey from complete despair to a glimmer of hope.
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