Friday, October 21, 2011
Book Talk - A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness
So says the monster that shows up at Conor's window every night at 12:07, but it's not the monster from his nightmare, the one Conor has been dreading. This monster has assumed the familiar shape of the yew tree that stands in the graveyard across from his home, an object that his mother has become fixated upon as cancer devours her body.
The yew monster claims that Conor has called him, and that he will share three stories of truth. In exchange, Conor must tell the fourth tale himself.
This doesn't seem terribly intimidating to Conor, as he's got much larger worries in life than being told stories by a tree in the middle of the night. His mother's health has degraded to a point that their Grandma, whom he despises, has come to stay with him. His absentee father has taken to calling him, "Sport" and "Champ," and a group of bullies at school keep bloodying him at the playground.
So the idea of stories doesn't rattle Conor... until the monster starts telling them. Stories where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil blend into one another and the outcome is not always what one expects. Stories that aren't about justice, stories that glorify destruction, stories that turn Conor on his head and bring him to the fourth tale - his tale - where the truth of the monster he has been expecting comes to light.
A MONSTER CALLS is based on an idea from Siobhan Dowd, who was posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal in 2009, and written by Patrick Ness, author of THE CHAOS WALKING trilogy. It is illustrated by Jim Kay, and I cannot say enough about how deeply the images in this book will resonate with the reader.
It's a quick read, but don't be deceived - these waters run deep.