A Monster Calls review

Can I just say “Wow” about this book? Seriously, I don’t know that my review can do it justice.  The story is about a young boy whose mother is dying of cancer.  He is having difficulty coming to the reality of her dying and calls, unconsciously, on the yew tree monster.  The monster comes at 12:07 at night or afternoon to tell Conor stories.  He tells Conor that he will tell him 3 stories after which Conor will have to tell the monster one – but not any story, the story of Conor.

I loved the monster in this book! Conor’s struggles with school and his feelings about his mother dying make me want to hug the little boy! I couldn’t put the book down once I started it – I wanted to hear the stories the Yew monster was going to tell Conor and figure out their true meaning.  I could see a small slice of myself in all three and not necessarily in a good way.

When faced with the monster, I love Conor’s reaction.  “You’re just a tree.” he said and later “I knew it,” Conor grumbled.  “These kinds of stories always have stupid prince’s falling in love.” He started walking back to the house.  “I thought this was going to be good.”  How many people would have the guts to say that to a talking monster Yew tree hovering in their backyard?

OK, to the ending which is what I could not write about this morning.  I sat at work with my back to my coworker trying to keep my tears as silent as possible.  So much of the ending is stuff I went through with the death of my sister that I struggled to stifle my sobbing.  I don’t recommend you read this at work if you’ve just lost a loved one.  I loved one of the truths the monster imparts to the boy at this junction: “You do not write your life with words, the monster said.  You write it with actions.  What you think is not important.  It is only important what you do.”

This is an impressive, wonderfully written book that easily made it into my favorites list.  The illustrations are crude yet so effective! I give the book an A+