A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Book & Movie Review

A Monster Calls is not a novel or a simple book. It is a baton of ideas that Patrick Ness hands down to the generations reading this book.

At the start of A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness tells us how he got handed down an idea from Siobhan Dowd who had the idea, characters, a premise and a beginning for the novel but not time. Unfortunately for all of us, Siobhan Dowd died of Cancer at the tender age of 47. Patrick felt like he had been handed down a baton, so here’s what he says;

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Great! Isn’t it? Because isn’t that how stories go? Ideas pass around, some strike a new chord and a new story is born. Patrick Ness is the winner of 2 Carnegie Medal. After reading A Monster Calls, I can see why.

Name: A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness

Pages: 237

Publisher: Walker Books

Buy: Amazon

Summary: AN EXTRAORDINARY NOVEL OF LOVE, LOSS, AND HOPE.

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

Book Review: You know that quote by J. D. Salinger where he says, ‘Sometimes you finish a novel and you wish the author was your best friend so you can pick up the telephone and dial his number to congratulate him and just say, what the heck dude! That was awesome.’ Yep, that’s not the exact quote but that’s what I would like to say to Mr. Patrick Ness. Which, he obviously must be knowing.

This is a story that I would hand down to my children and grandchildren. It’s not a story, it’s a beacon of hope, of loss and of coming to terms with your own demons (thoughts) as a child as well as an adult.

The Yew Tree stands in the middle of the cemetery near the church building. It looks over the tiny hill and the houses around it, the many beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The uninvited visitor, however, is not just a monster. It (He/she) is an ancient, elemental force of nature. In his own words, ‘I am this wild earth.’ I love those words, ‘This Wild Earth’. So the wild earth has taken the shape of a monster and come to visit Conor O’Malley. Why? Because unknown to himself Conor has asked the monster to come walking.

The monster won’t go away now until his task is finished. So, Conor is stuck. Monster has one condition alone, he will tell Conor 3 stories and in return, Conor has to tell him his story. One nightmare, one truth that he has been hiding from everyone. Knowing is also a curse, but it can be liberating too.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Thus begins the midnight stories through which we come closer to the monster, Conor and the ultimate truths that we know but forget or chose to ignore. Almost always the truth is the hardest part of life. Tell the truth and you shall be free, the same goes for Conor. To be free of his own demons (thoughts) he has to tell the truth or they will eat him alive.

I have been sick for last 2 days. I get sick often due to mild asthma which leads to weakness. Often times I am rendered physically useless i.e. I can hardly walk on my own or leave the bed. So for the first day when my husband helped me with my bath and laid me back in bed, I could not help but think about the worry he must be going through because I was sick. Today, when I am feeling better cracking jokes and making him laugh, he just said, ‘this is my pari. Laughing and talking. I missed you.’It just struck a chord in my heart. I cried at the end of this novel, it was beautiful personal and reading experience in a day.

Recommendation: If I  haven’t been clear, READ THE DAMN BOOK. It’s gorgeous, realistic, magical and a brave story. A Monster Calls is a magnificent story that tells us that feeling anger and sadness is a part of life. It’s okay.Furthermore, it talks about the aching complexity of our emotions. Read it and keep it for your future generations to read.

Movie Review: 

You read the book while imagining the ancient monster, the pain that Conor goes through, the terrible reality Conor goes through daily and the magical stories that the monster tells. Finally, if you find yourself crying with Conor as the book ends, you don’t need to watch the movie.

Many elements of the book are missing in the movie. For example, friendship shared by Conor and Lily. Probably the worst part of the movie is that the storytelling doesn’t quite go as the novels. Hence, if you are satisfied with the book and wondering how the movie must be, then let me tell you this. It’s the tip of the ICE BURG.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Did you read the book or watched the movie? What do you think about it? Leave a comment and let me know.

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4 comments Add yours
  1. I loved how you have perfectly blended your personal emotions with the review. The review sounds personal yet universal, for we all experience ailment and aches in our lives and, yes, it’s just a part of us.

    Will definitely read this one as I always feel, there’s an invisible cord that binds us with Mother Nature, or the “Wild Earth”… 🙂

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Maniparna. Just love the last lines. An invisible cord must be existing between us and the Wild Earth, or let’s say Mother Nature. Have fun reading A Monster Calls, great choice. 🙂

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