READING BUDDIES: A MONSTER CALLS/Patrick Ness (1)

 

As what I have said in the previous post, I will be joining some reading buddies for A Monster Calls for the whole month of October. The book is divided into 5 parts according to chapter titles, and for this week, we are scheduled to read from A Monster Calls to Grandma. I started reading last night and if I didn’t have an appointment early the next morning, I might have stayed up all night and finished the book. But then again, I want to savor the story bit by bit so I will (strongly) control myself not to finish the book in one sitting. 🙂

 Part 1: A Monster Calls to Grandma

As early as now, I already love the book because it is very easy to read, no “big” words whatsoever, no need to re-read pages before I can fully understand what the author means. Connor O’Malley is 13 years old and at his age, he has already encountered more than enough troubles: he has recurring nightmares lately, his mother is sick, his grandmother whom he doesn’t like is coming home, he is bullied in school, and worse, his bestfriend, Lily, betrayed him by telling everyone at school that his mom is ill. And then one night, he saw a yew tree turn into a giant monster. What else could go wrong?

The questions for this part are as follows:

1. “You’re a good boy,” Conor’s mother tells him. “I wish you didn’t have to be quite so good.” (p. 17) What do you think she means by that?

I’d like to answer this question by dividing the statement into two: First, “You’re a good boy” –  this is Conor’s mom’s way of affirming and appreciating all that Connor has done while she’s sick. At his age, Connor is already independent. He fixes his own breakfast, cleans the house, and prepares for school all by his own. He has shown strength of character for someone as young as him.

Second, “I wish you didn’t have to be quite so good.” Conor’s mom could be talking more to herself than to Conor when she spoke this. Because she is very sick, she could be thinking about death more now and she finds it hard to die when she has to leave someone who is “so good.”

 2. Lily was once Conor’s closest friend but now he can’t forgive her. Why? Is he right to feel betrayed?

I think yes. The illness of Conor’s mom is something that Conor feels to be a very personal matter and when Lily told somebody else about this, Conor felt angry and betrayed. Anger is already brewing inside Conor because of the circumstances and he is still in the process of accepting the fact that his mother is ill. He is trying to put up a very strong front, as a coping mechanism perhaps, and he is not yet prepared to deal with other people yet regarding his mother’s situation.

3. The monster talked about 4 stories, 3 from him and one from Conor. The one from Conor should be the truth. What do you think is this truth? (Feel free to speculate 😀 To those who’ve read this already, you can write what you first thought this truth was.)

 I think the truth that comes from Conor is that he is afraid of being left alone. He has suffered loss early in his life when his father left them, and now his mother is sick and does not seem to get well. However, Conor doesn’t want to face this truth because he doesn’t want to feel afraid. After all he is a boy, who will grow up to be a man, and a man is not supposed to feel afraid, right?

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