The Importance of 'A Monster Calls'

The Importance of 'A Monster Calls'

Why I love Patrick Ness and Jim Kay's masterpiece
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I've read a lot of books in my 19 years. And while it is hard for me to pick a favorite author, I recently tend to land back at Patrick Ness. A British-American author and journalist, Ness has a very interesting way of looking at the human condition in relation to young adults without any sort of patronization.

The first book of his that I read was The Knife of Never Letting Go, which is the first book in his highly acclaimed yet not widely known Chaos Walking trilogy. I loved it, and went on to finish the series by my junior year of high school. About three years later, I read three more of his books, all of which were amazing. But the one that has stuck with me - and hopefully will never leave me - is A Monster Calls .

I've been hearing about A Monster Calls for years. It has reached critical acclaim, and was recently adapted into a film (in theaters now, here's the trailer!). I was not sure what to expect upon reading it this summer, and I must say that it is easily the most important work of fiction that I have ever read.

A Monster Calls tells the story of 13-year-old Conor, who is dealing with his mother's battle with cancer which is evidently coming to a quick end. One night at 12:07am, a Monster appears outside Conor's window and proceeds to explain that he will return at tell Conor three stories and after, Conor must tell a fourth. Between these stories, Conor must deal with the real people within his life as well as his mother's illness.

These three stories are taken from the Monster's lifetime, and they each teach a lesson that Conor can learn from and can all be applied to his current situation. And in the end, these stories help Conor cope with and understand what is happening to him.

The work itself was an idea from Siobhan Dowd, who at the time was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After Dowd's death in 2007, Ness picked up the story and put it onto paper. Illustrated by Jim Kay, this work is a literary and artistic masterpiece that necessarily fills a void.

The importance of this work lies in its message and ultimately in the way Ness writes. He clearly and without insult explains the grieving processes in a way that a child can understand. The stories that the Monster tells Conor explain to him that everything he is feeling about his mother's condition is okay -- his fear, anger, and eventual desire for it to just be over. All of these feelings are okay, and they are natural.

As someone who experienced the death of a classmate at a very young age, it is hard for a child to truly understand what death means. And, as someone who experienced the death of a grandparent in my senior year of high school, essentially waiting for someone to pass is a painful experience that does not get easier to live with in time. But this book provides an explanation in a way that is as easy to grasp as it is beautiful.

I absolutely adore this book, with everything that I am. I have not stopped thinking about it since the day that I read it. Thank you, Patrick Ness, for beautifully and eloquently writing this necesary piece of fiction. And thank you, Soibhan Dowd for having the idea to put it out into the world.


Cover Image Credit: Jim Kay

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If 20 Iconic Brooke Davis Quotes Were Your College Major

The early 00s wouldn't have been the same without a little sass from Brooke Davis.

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One Tree Hill was iconic in itself. We laughed, we cried, we went through quite the rollercoaster of emotions but through it all, we always loved Brooke Davis. She's one of a kind but relates to all of us, even when it comes to our major of choice. Ever wonder if Brooke Davis could describe your major? Well, let's find out.

1. Nursing 

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Just like Brooke Davis, nursing majors are underappreciated. It takes a lot to get those degrees! We see you nurses and we love you!!

2. English 

"What's your major?" "English" "Oh."

3. Pre-Law

The sass of Brooke Davis and the sass of a good lawyer are one in the same.

4. Communication

Interpersonal. Persuasion. Public Relations. Mass Media. We know all the tricks. Don't even try us.

5. Biology

That love hate relationship that you know will be worth it in the end but hate the road you have to take to get there.

6. Theater

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Drama. Drama. Drama.

7. Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Whether it's gender issues or misogynist assholes. WGSS teaches you a lot about things you didn't even know you didn't know.

8. Social Work/HDFS

Social work is no joke. Neither is HDFS. They're like moms but moms that can bust a knee cap if necessary.

9. Business

The high and mighty. Yet they still don't have class on Fridays. Interesting.

10. Engineering

Okay so you know how to build robots and fix collapsing buildings. Big deal.

11. Mathematics

No one likes math. No one but you. Weirdo.

12. Nutrition 

Foooooddddd. But the healthy kind and like science and stuff.

13. History

Brooke Davis asking the real questions.

14. Animal Science

Brooke doesn't know every species of bird out there but maybe you do???

15. Fashion

Say it louder for the people in the back.

16. Psychology

It seems like a good idea freshmen year until you realize all the science classes you have to take. At that point you hate everyone and all trust is lost.

17. Journalism

Get your story. But also get your facts straight.

18. Art

Art is hard. Being creative is hard. No wonder a lot of famous artists lost their minds.

19. Undecided

Let Brooke inspire you to keep searching, you'll figure it out just like she did. I mean, hello??? Clothes over bros anyone?

20. Fifth Years

You just love school so much you never want to leave. Ever.

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I Discovered My Favorite Band In Their Hometown, Thousands Of Miles Away

Lukas Graham are not just any ordinary artists. They're musical prodigies.

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I was very excited to learn that Lukas Graham is from Denmark — but I didn't know that when I discovered them in while I was sitting in my hotel room a few years ago.

I had just checked into my fancy schmancy hotel room located in the heart of Copenhagen. After five days of endless travelling, it goes without saying that I was completely worn out. However, the thrill of being in a lavish hotel room, alone and in a foreign country, miraculously surpassed any fatigue I was feeling at the time.

I didn't even properly unpack until the second or third day. I jumped on the bed, opened my huge flat-screen TV (for no reason whatsoever), checked out the room's facilities and blasted music from my speakers. I spent the entire evening texting my friends and planning my week.

The following morning I woke up super early and began sorting through my things. I turned on the TV and began listening to English songs from a random Danish channel. After some time, they played Lukas Graham's "You're Not There." I immediately fell in love with the song (and Lukas's voice), so I Googled the song.

I downloaded it and played it on repeat for a couple of days. One night, I was chilling in the lobby with my friends when suddenly the same Lukas Graham song came on. No one seemed to care or take notice. I noticed the song right away and didn't leave the lobby until the song was over. I was in awe (as I am each time I hear any of their songs being played).

"You're Not There" is particularly poignant and special, as it's dedicated to the band's frontman, Lukas' late father. I could tell through the song how much his father means to him, and I could easily relate.

It was after leaving Europe that I came to know Lukas Graham is actually a Danish band, whereas before I had thought they were British or American.

I've given the band's frontman, Lukas Forchhammer, the name "The Male Adele." Lukas Forchammer is a Irish-Danish singer, songwriter and actor. I'm not even being dramatic when I say that all of his songs speak straight to my heart.

His lyrics are very raw and powerful, not something you hear often these days. To top it all off, he has the most incredible voice, and his bandmates complement each other very well.

Discovering Lukas Graham and falling irrevocably in love with them felt like destiny and nothing short of it. I've even created a special playlist just for them. Their songs are compatible with my every mood, and every time I play them I feel in touch with my emotions.

I'm so proud I've lived to hear their wonderful music and be tremendously blessed by it. I'm moved by their music every time and every day that I listen to it.

I know a lot about the band now, and I continue to have enormous love and respect for them. They've even created their own genre. It's called "Ghetto Pop" — how cool is that?!

I don't normally write about musicians/bands I admire, but Lukas Graham are not just any ordinary artist.

They're musical prodigies.

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