Feeds Recommends: A Monster Calls

2021 is a much needed clean slate, and we’re all determined to make use of this fresh beginning, to ensure that this year is unlike the previous one. One of the most basic ways we do this is by deciding on new goals and making resolutions. That being said, to read more can usually be found among the most common resolutions. For that very purpose, Feeds Recommends ‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness.

“Sometimes people need to lie to themselves most of all.”

‘A Monster Calls’ is a heart-wrenching novel about Conor O’ Malley, a thirteen-year-old boy, and the battles he faces while having to cope with his mother’s cancer diagnosis. From the sudden overwhelming sympathy from other adults to the bullies he has to face at school, Conor’s life is in no way enviable.  But his troubles don’t just end there. Ever since his mother’s first signs of illness, he’s been encountering a recurring nightmare. As her health worsens by the day, the nightmare refuses to leave him in peace. Until one day, there is an unexpected turn of events. Conor wakes up from his nightmare in the middle of the night and meets a monster at his window.

Don’t be fooled by the premise, as this ‘monster’ is nothing like your average mythical creature. The Monster from the yew tree, in no way induces any fear in Conor, whose reality is possibly the scariest of all. In fact, his intention is merely to share three eye-opening stories with Conor, and then finally, to hear a fourth story – Conor’s story. A story which once revealed, will change Conor’s life completely.  

Unconventional and intriguing, ‘A Monster Calls’ is touching and poignant, with a simple, yet heartbreaking plot. The author seamlessly weaves the Monster’s stories with the protagonist’s life. The raw emotions of even the least significant character in the story resonate through the reader, especially those of Conor, a protagonist so endearing yet broken, that it becomes difficult not to share his pain. The complexities in distinguishing between right and wrong, the burden of grief,  the horrors of facing one’s fears – these are just a few of the many unorthodox themes that take the centre stage in this unpredictable story, leaving the reader broken but still wanting more at the end of it.

Patrick Ness employs an easy-to-read and engaging writing style. In fact, one would never imagine that such simple language could be used as a means to deliver such a powerful tale. It also includes beautiful illustrations which perfectly capture the mood of the book. This, combined with the fact that the entire novel is tightly packed within 237 pages makes it a great read for new readers. And this page turner will surely help you get back into the habit of reading. But be warned, it is quite the tear-jerker, so do keep those tissues ready!

Arjitha Parthasarathy

I wrote this long article but couldn't come up with a half-decent one-liner.

One thought on “Feeds Recommends: A Monster Calls

  • January 5, 2021 at 12:38 am

    Wonderfully penned review. Intrigued and will get to the book soon enough.


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