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A Monster Calls

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Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:31 am
Gringoamericano says...

If he isn't already, then Patrick Ness is probably gonna be one of the next big YA authors. He's recently had A Monster Calls adapted (although it sadly was a box-office flop); and his Chaos Walking series is currently getting its own big screen treatment as well, being helmed by the director of the Bourne series and Captain Phillips, and the writer of such films as Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Speaking of A Monster Calls, let's talk about the book, shall we?

It's about a thirteen year old boy named Conor O'Malley, who in the midst of dealing with his mother's cancer, is visited by a talking yew tree.

Along with being a story about a boy learning to cope with his mother's condition, it's also a story about stories. The monster's main purpose within the novel is to tell Conor three stories that are supposed to help him...although their meaning remains rather obtuse. In return, Conor must tell the one story he's been needing to tell, whether he wants to or not.

I will say that I really enjoyed the novel. It was incredibly sad (which is mildly unsurprising, given the subject matter), but there was a really dark and dry sense of humor that occasionally makes an appearance. The novel really gets you to empathize with Conor and (most of) the people in his life despite every one of them being deeply flawed, and it kind of feels like that was the point of the stories being told as well.

The novel also slightly draws upon some real world inspiration as well. While written by Patrick Ness, the initial idea for the novel came from another UK author named Siobhan Dowd, who sadly passed away from breast cancer after coming up with the characters, the premise, and the beginning. She had specifically contacted Ness to complete the novel.

So now that all that's done and over with; how about the rest of y'all? What did you think of the novel (and it's subsequent adaptation)? I heard that there were two editions published; one with illustrations, and one without them. I picked up the one without them (as it was cheaper), but to those of you who read it with the illustrations; did you feel like they added to the novel?
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