Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness follows a 12-year-old boy named Conor, who is visited nightly by a monster who tells him stories.

The monster terrorises him at first, but Conor listens to the stories under the pretence that he’ll tell the monster “the truth”.

There’s a lot of upset in Conor’s life, from his school friends to his family, all stemming from Conor’s denial around his mother’s sickness.

I quite enjoyed this book, especially the conversations between Conor and the monster. Conor’s emotional turmoil is expressed really nicely and this is definitely a book that exists to tug on your heartstrings!

I listened to A Monster Calls on audiobook, narrated by Jason Isaacs who did a wonderful job of the various voices, particularly the monster and Conor’s mother.

Unfortunately, I tended to space out and stop listening when the monster began to tell his tales. I know they reflected the subtext of Conor’s grief, but there was something about the monster’s stories that just didn’t stick in my head!

I much preferred reading about Conor’s interactions with his mother, the monster, his friends and his family. His expressions were very authentic, and that made for much better storytelling than the fairytale-like fables.

Overall, it was a lovely book and (typical for Ness) dealt with tough subject matter with grace.


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