(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness, found in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library is a very touching story with a good life lesson. The story starts with a boy named Connor O’Malley whose father left when he was little, and his mother has cancer. Connor hears a voice calling his name one day. The next night, a giant tree Monster comes to his window and takes him into the forest. He tells Connor that he will return to tell him three stories, and after his stories, Connor has to take what he learned from them, and tell the Monster a story.
I really enjoyed this book because he Monster teaches Connor to appreciate the things that he has in his life in a creative, imaginative way. Connor gets picked on at school because his mother is bald due to her chemotherapy treatments. He is angry at his mother and his life, but the Monster teaches him to stand up for himself and to realize that he is lucky his mother is still around.
While reading it, I realized that the Monster is really all in Connor’s imagination, and he is becoming a better person all on his own. There is a part in the book where Connor is being bullied, and the Monster is behind him and he is the only one seeing and talking to it, not the bullies. I think Connor is afraid of accepting his truth, and the Monster is a symbol of his truth that is making itself known.
I think this book seems more for a younger audience, but it is still very touching and heart-warming. It has very good illustrations and teaches a good life lesson. The drawings are in black and white and look a little scary or eerie, but they still fit well with the story. I haven’t seen a lot of chapter books with illustrations, especially one in a college library, so it was a bit different. The book teaches a good lesson to appreciate the good things in life and the things you already have instead of what you wish you had. Connor wishes that his mom would not be bald and sick, but the Monster helps him come to terms with her sickness and to accept that she is losing time, and that he should savor the time he has left with her.
Merrin Guthrie is a THRIVE intern reporting for the Muleskinner. THRIVE is a two-year program to help intellectually- or developmentally-challenged young adults build skills for transitioning from home to independence.