Tuesday, 14 February 2017

#Review: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I had to read A Monster Calls in a bit of a hurry as one of my students is studying it at school and only let me know last week. Luckily I had a bit of training in speedy reading last year when I foolishly took on my 100 book Goodreads challenge. 


For me, the most effective element of A Monster Calls is that the monster is introduced as soon as the story opens.

“The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”

This leaves the reader in no doubt about the fact that something is seriously amiss with our protagonist Conor.

I would have liked to see more interaction between Conor and his mother, especially at the start of the book but perhaps Ness tackles it in this way to indicate that she is slipping out of this world.

Naturally, I found myself thinking about other books related to grief as I read this and couldn’t help but compare it to Skellig and Savage by David Almond. I confess that I have a slight preference for David Almond’s writing, particularly the way Savage is tackled with the combination of text and image. However, Patrick Ness joins Almond in my recommended books for boys having to deal with tragedy. Our children need to know that grief is a part of life, especially in our very precarious times. But more than that, they need to know that it is important to grieve and there is no right or wrong way to do so.

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