Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book Review: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd

A Monster Calls is a story about a grade-school boy, Conor, dealing with his mother's deteriorating condition due to cancer.

This book had a lot of hype for me, a lot of people saying it's the must read of 2011. All in all, I had one laugh-out-loud moment and one tear-jerker moment. This book is teen fiction, which means I could read the entire thing in an hour. However, I chose to read it slowly and really savor the images, so I took three days to complete it.

It was recommended I read the book in hardcover and I am glad I did. The pictures, especially of the yew monster were pretty amazing, even in gray scale. They do add a certain element of "being there" to the story.

It was a decent story and I mostly enjoyed it, but I did find it seemed to drag a bit toward the end. The monster was a very thought-provoking character and really stole the story for me, much more so than Conor or his misunderstood semi-barbaric grandmother. I also found Conor's dad to be a completely aggravating loser of a man.

In the book's defense, as soon as I finished it, I turned around and loaned it out. It's a good story, as I said. I do think people should read this book, and I agree it should be read in a format in which the pictures can really be studied - this is the type of book that was made for print over digital.

I'm not sure I'll read it again, or won't read it again, unless I get an urge to delve into the pictures again (the most likely scenario). The brick-and-mortar hardcover price was staggering, I would have liked to see it priced more in the $12 than the $20 range.

I'll give A Monster Calls 7 yew berries out of 10.

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