It has taken me a little while to write this review, I wanted to make sure I had fully processed the novel before putting it into words. Something I hope to be able to do now.
I’ll start by saying that it has been a while since I cried at a book…I cried hard over A Monster Calls!
If you don’t already know (though most people probably do by now!), the novel is about a boy dealing with his mum having cancer. As simple as that. Except cancer is never, and can never, be simple.
The monster, as he is deemed, is fantastical but so grounded in a sense of reality that nothing seems strange about this book. Oddly, I wouldn’t class it as any kind of fantasy…If anything, it is closer to true life than many non fantasy works of fiction. But then I suppose that is the magic of fantasy.
This book tugged at my heartstrings in so many ways, but maybe not in the way you might expect. When I finished reading it I tweeted ‘What a beautiful contradiction and devasting truth’ and it was the only way I could sum up this book. The beauty of the story is in the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we tell others.
For such a short book, it amazed me how much of an emotional punch was packed in there. Of course, Ness has the ability to do that. His narratives are simply written but manipulated in a way, that only a good writer can manage, to make you think. To see a situation that you think you know about, from a different angle.
I’m not sure where you would categorise this book. At first you pick it up as a children’s book, but then you see the YA aspects leaking through mingled with the adult themes. It is a novel that everyone should read, it is a story that everyone should understand.