Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

Book Cover Image: A Monster Calls by Patrick NessTitle: A Monster Calls: Inspired by an Idea from Siobhan Dowd
Author: Patrick Ness
ISBN: 9780763655594
No. of Pages: 224
Genre: Young Adult

“At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.”

Thoughts: For a beautifully written novel about grief and learning to let go, one need look no further than Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls. Deliciously creepy, Ness calls to mind every nightmare anyone has ever had. Conor’s struggle to accept the inevitable is every bit as poignant as one might imagine. Ness captures perfectly a not-so-little boy’s anxiety over his mother’s failing health and fervent attempts to avoid the truth. Readers should expect to cross the gamut of emotion, from fear to grief and back again. It truly is as good as everyone has been saying.
Acknowledgements: Mine. All mine.

Book Cover Image: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins GilmanTitle: The Yellow Wallpaper and Selected Writings
Author: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
ISBN: 9781844085583
No. of Pages: 45
Genre: Classics

“Based on the author’s own experiences, The Yellow Wallpaper is the chilling tale of a woman driven to the brink of insanity by the ‘rest cure’ prescribed after the birth of her child. Isolated in a crumbling colonial mansion, in a room with bars on the windows, the tortuous pattern of the yellow wallpaper winds its way into the recesses of her mind.”

Thoughts: The Yellow Wallpaper brings to mind the chicken and the egg argument. In this case, which came first, the woman’s mental illness or the wallpaper? Was she mentally deranged before she gave birth? Would she have been okay had she not been put on bed rest? Who truly is at fault – the husband who ordered her to rest, genetics, or that blasted wallpaper? Written as journal entries, the reader bears the full brunt of the woman’s downward spiral into delusions, all the while left with a myriad of unanswered questions thanks to an extremely flawed narrator. Another creepy novel in which nothing is as it seems and during which the reader is forced to draw his or her own conclusions, The Yellow Wallpaper brings to the fore the idea of gender relationships and the inadequacies of previous medical treatments. There is no doubt that this short story will continue to stand the test of time and provide plenty of discussion fodder for years to come.
Acknowledgements: Mine. All mine.


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