Book: A Monster Calls

"A Monster Calls"

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I picked up A Monster Calls. A few friends recommended it to me, and I was a little ambivalent when I read the synopsis. It didn’t speak to me. But when I stumbled across the edition I found, this beautifully illustrated version by Walker Books, I knew I was buying the book. If only for the really beautiful illustrations.

But when I read the book, I fell in love with it.

Conor, the main character, is flawed. And that makes him, for me, a great character. He is a great character study on human beings. This is a child fashioned by the everyday life, shaped by external forces beyond his control, and choices that were his to make. Choices that, we find out as the story goes along, are colored by what he was taught–by the beliefs instilled in him.

Choices that the monster wants Conor to face.

Our main character doesn’t have an easy life. And I really like how author Patrick Ness doesn’t make Conor the typical flawed protagonists who has a naturally good heart. As I said before, Conor is flawed. And that’s what makes me relate more to him than other characters I’ve read, who are going through the same things he is in this book. And that’s what makes the book’s end all the more heartbreaking. Because by the time the book ends, we become Conor.

A Monster Calls tells the story of Conor, but more than that, it tells the story of us. Humans doing human things, feeling human emotions–being human. And being monsters.

This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in 2012, and I’m very grateful for the friends who recommended this to me. Now, I shall be doing other friends favors by recommending this book to them.

Before I do that though, let us read a few reviews from book blogs across the ‘net:
There’s a Book
The Book Smugglers
Dog-Eared

movie: you again

"you again" directed by andy fickmani got a chance to watch an advanced screening of YOU AGAIN last wednesday night. though, technically it’s not an advanced screening since this movie started playing in american theaters last september.

but it’s opening 3rd of november here, so… advanced.

glad we got that cleared up.

okay, YOU AGAIN tells the story of marni, a successful career woman, who suddenly gets a blast from the past. her older brother is about to get married–to the woman who single-handedly made marni’s four years in high school a living hell.

what follows is marni’s attempts at getting joanna (the bride-to-be) to admit to the wrongs she did and to apologize for everything. failing that, marni starts trying to stop the wedding–through any means possible.

and then there’s gail, marni’s mother, who finds out that joanna’s aunt is her ex-best friend ramona. they did not separate amicably.

the plot is kinda thin. actually, it’s pretty nonexistent, once you start watching the movie. you get marni trying very hard to expose joanna for the mean bitch she was, and then you get gail trying to one-up the very rich and very powerful ramona. and while those two plot lines are running, marni also has this small romance thing going on–which you don’t really notice until the very blatant nudge at the end of the movie.

but YOU AGAIN is very funny–in a you-don’t-have-to-think-(at-all) way. and i am having trouble trying to expound on that. because that would mean i would have to think about the movie, and i really don’t want to do that. because it would defeat the description i gave it, which is “it’s very funny–in a you-don’t-have-to-think-(at-all) way.” thinking about it would make it still funny, but rather pointless.

then again, the movie is pointless.

there’s a couple of lessons somewhere about honesty and forgiveness. and in a review i wrote for WMN.ph, i said the movie doesn’t get preachy about these lessons. but the thing is, getting preachy would actually entail having a plot. and a point. the movie has neither. but it sure is enjoyable.

so if you’re looking for something to watch after the all saint’s weekend–well, give YOU AGAIN a shot. don’t think about the story, just enjoy the laughs for what they are–a break from life.