This little book (which is honestly a treasure) was a birthday present from my dearest M. Not sure if it was intended as a lesson or just as a reminder of all those things we should be grateful for, but I’m pretty sure I spotted this one on her books-that-made-me-cry shelf and it would definitely make it on my own if I had one.
We should always be thankful for those dear ones who support us and fill our days with affection (sometimes sarcasm too, and that’s even better if you ask me); the first who do this are (or should be) our parents: whether they are showing their friends compromising pictures from our childhood, embarrassing us in front of strangers or cheering us for our latest accomplishment. Unfortunately, as with almost all the good things in the world, we grow complacent over time and end up taking them for granted so I believe it is rather healthy once in a while to remember that they’re not and maybe treasure them a little bit more than we usually do.
“Sometimes people need to lie to themselves most of all.”
That is one of the feats A Monster Calls accomplishes.
It’s the story of a young boy, Conor, whose mum suffer from a terminal illness and is undergoing treatment, but her situation doesn’t seem to improve. We witness his struggle to cope with all the events that unfold around him while a monster shows up unexpectedly one night in his life. The monster will tell him three stories asking in demand that in the end Conor will tell him one, the most important that Conor has to tell.
Each of the three stories is beautifully crafted and underline the never-ending duality of human being, the constant battle between good and evil, how we define these notions and how we judge them, how we have these double-standards regarding a certain situation, sometimes failing to see the circumstances and sometimes using that circumstances to excuse our choices. They reminded me of fairy-tales with that gentle story-telling that the author has, but at the same time the moral aspects they presents are intriguing and much more than a regular fairy-tale.
“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”
This is a book about loss and how us, human beings, eventually deal with it. Whether we are young or old, I think this is a story we should all read, filled with sensitivity and kindness. Beside loss and grief you get the other side of the coin, the hope and the compassion.
“Many things that are true feel like a cheat. Kingdoms get the princes they deserve, farmers’ daughters die for no reason, and sometimes witches merit saving. Quite often, actually. You’d be surprised.”
I’m an emotional geek and I often find myself crying when my fictional characters are having a rough time so you can imagine that I spent about 95% of this book with the napkins at my side.
As someone much wiser than me said: “I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.” – I believe most of them aren’t and so I was grateful at the end of this book to be reminded of my own mortal condition, how volatile everything around us is whether we’re talking experiences or beloved ones.
All in all, it seems to me that this kind of introspection is akin to the mood of the upcoming holidays so it would make a great gift for yourself or your loved ones. Have fun reading!