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A Monster Calls

The last time I bawled my eyes out for a book was over Stephen King's The Green Mile and that happened like a bajillion years ago when I was in college. I cried on the part where Paul Edgecombe goes home after John Coffey's execution and he just collapsed from despair. The description was so raw and real that it just completely crushed my heart and it felt like Paul's pain seeped through my bones. It was truly a beautiful yet extraordinarily haunting experience. Damn Stephen! Your writing skills are dope. Anyway, I mentioned this because I was able to once again experience the sensation I felt in The Green Mile with Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls, but this time it wasn't just because the description was well-written but because I can actually relate to it.
This book wasn't exactly a priority read, but after watching the movie I bumped it up my reading list. It was short anyway so I said  "What the hey, might as well" and I finished it in just a couple of days. Again, not a fast and one-sitting reader so forgive the lengthy time frame. -_-

The story is about Conor O'Malley; a boy coping with his mother's terminal cancer and in the process unconsciously denying the inevitable. Then one night a yew tree transformed into a giant monster and went tromping into his home then... It told him stories. Anticlimactic I know, but it gets better. So every past midnight the monster came and told him odd tales of a prince, a queen, an apothecary, a parson, and an invisible man. The prince and queen is my favorite; the dark twist to it was quite entertaining. After all three stories were told, the monster demanded the last tale from Conor and there he revealed his darkest secret and worst nightmare, which in turn helped him to "let go". The last chapter really made me cry a river... I think I went to bed crying after finishing this book. It shattered my heart to pieces and it was so beautiful.     

WHAT I LOVE:

Everything
This is really one amazing book and I can't think of any other way that this should be written. The descriptions were spot on, characters were realistic, the plot was not generic, the climax really took my breath away, and the resolution was just brilliant. Heartbreaking and excruciatingly painful, but really brilliant.

WHAT I DON'T LIKE:

I Wish There Was More
I have no complaints about the ending, it was truly magnificent but I had hoped that the resolution extended to whether Conor was able to make amends with Harry, the guy he beat up to a pulp. It'll kinda be an epilogue where Harry comes back to school, sees Conor and apologizes for all the bullying. Then Conor, Harry, and Lily ends up the best of friends, signifying Conor' days will be better. Anyway, this is pretty minor and I guess it's good that Patrick Ness left this loose end for readers to weave their own conclusions, just like I did.

STAR RATING:

4.5 Stars
If a book was able to move me this much and made me cry for hours, I don't think I need to say more. This is one beautiful, touching, and soulful piece of literature. Well done Patrick Ness, you've made Siobhan Dowd proud. You didn't just put her idea in writing, but brought it to life, gave it majestic wings, and let it soar. Thank you so much.
Like I said earlier, I was able to relate to this book because, like Conor, my mother also has cancer. Oh damn! Here comes the water works... X( Anyway, when I watched this movie the cancer was still just a speculation, but when my mom had her surgery everything just went crashing down. By the time I finished this book my mom's breast cancer has already progressed to Stage 4. So you can imagine what it was like for me to read the ending... I've never felt so helpless in my life. My mom's already in her late 50's and ever since I could remember she's always had a sick body so undergoing Chemo is out of the question. She will not survive the treatment. Right now my family and I are putting our hopes to an alternative doctor who promises that 80% of her Stage 4 cancer patients have been healed. Like Conor, I believe with all my heart that my mom will be cured, but at the back of my mind is a terrible scenario that keeps replaying no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise. That fear, that nightmare, I can never seem to make it go away. At times I get the ridiculous idea that when worse comes to worst I hope a giant monster comes by my house to tell stories and help me "let go".
  

       
Disclaimer: Some of the images/gif are not mine and can be searched online

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