Oh, readers, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness totally slayed me. It is heartbreaking from the opening page until the very last page. I went into A Monster Calls completely blind, meaning I knew nothing about the story except that there’s a monster who calls and that’s full of the sads.
Set in England, A Monster Calls is about Conor O’Malley, a young boy who lives with his mum because Dad is in America. However, life is not idyllic for Conor. You see, his mom is slowly losing her battle with cancer and he’s bullied at school. A monster comes to visit Conor at 12:07 a.m. to tell him three stories in exchange for one story. I won’t ruin the stories for you except to say that each take on complex themes of character and such.
Ultimately, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is a story about grief and letting go. It speaks to the common childhood fear of losing a parent. And really, I think that is one of the biggest fears of a child. I thought Ness did a fantastic job juxtaposing the monster and nightmare imaginary fear with the real fear Conor has of life without his mum.
Friends, you need to know that A Monster Calls is not an easy, happy go lucky book. It is deep. It is painful. It will make you feel unless you have a heart of stone, in which case, why are you even reading my reviews considering how much I write about my emotional reactions. I absolutely think A Monster Calls is worth the emotional bombs it will drop on your soul.
The narrator, Jason Issacs aka Lucius Malfoy is pitch perfect in the audiobook of A Monster Calls. I think I finally understand what a gravely voice is — since at parts Issacs has one, mainly when he is voicing the monster. I have to say, his monster voice is scary. But his voice for the words other than the dialogue, the prose and such is perfect. Issac’s narration is impossible to ignore or to tune out. At first, I was sad that Nick Podehl wasn’t narrating since it seems he does Ness’s audios, but I honestly don’t think Brilliance Audio could have done a better job with the narrator. I am TOTALLY going to recommend this audiobook to audio beginners because it is excellent. It’s really short too, it’s only four hours and one minute unabridged. Also, there’s a fascinating interview at the end between Patrick Ness and Jason Issacs that I think is absolutely worth listening to, about how Ness went with Siobhan Dowd’s barebones idea, had never met her, but didn’t have like an overly detailed outline from her and instead let the story take him where it would without being encoumbered by overly detailed plans from Dowd. Now, that’s not word for word, but a brief summing up. ANYWAYS.
The audiobook of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is totally worth your time and I think if you really want to try audiobooks but have no idea where to start, you should start with this book. Seriously, it’s wonderful. You’ve likely seen the narrator in the Harry Potter movies. And it’s not incredibly long. PLUS there’s a disc that has the pictures on it.
Disclosure: Received for review.
This is a CYBILS book.