#127 A Monster Calls

Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Release Date: May 5th, 2011 (first published January 1st, 2011)
Publisher: Walker
Format: ebook
Page Count: 200 Pages
Status: Read on July 24th, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Contemporary.
Literary Awards: Kate Greenaway Medal (2012), Galaxy British Book Awards for Children’s Book of the Year (2011), Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Young Adult Literature (2011), Red House Children’s Book Award (2012), YALSA Teens’ Top Ten Nominee (2012), Carnegie Medal in Literature (2012), Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis for Preis der Jugendjury (2012), The Inky Awards Nominee for Silver Inky (2012), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2015), Galaxy National Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year (2011), Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books of the Year (2011), Grampian Children’s Book Award Nominee (2013), Goodreads Choice Nominee for Middle Grade & Children’s (2011), The Kitschies for Red Tentacle (Novel) (2011), NCBLA – Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts (2012), YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults (Top Ten) (2012)


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.


Dari artikel tentang sicklit di blog di bawah Yalsa (Young Adult Library Services Association), saya menggarisbawahi penjelasan ini: ..these books and others like them that take on such serious topics such as terminal illness and suicide do more harm than good. Their concern is that rather than providing a safe means to explore tough subjects from a safe book-land distance, these books might encourage damaging behaviors or depression merely by planting the seeds into young, impressionable minds.

Nah, dalam novel A Monster Calls ini, ada terminal illness yang dihadapi ibu Conor. Makanya saya anggap buku ini bisa masuk kategori sicklit. Boleh dong? Hehhe.

Buku ini emang ngga seperti sicklit lain di mana terminal illness itu dialami oleh karakter utama. Poinnya adalah terminal illness itu bukan hanya kenyataan yang mesti dihadapi oleh subjek terkait tapi juga oleh orang-orang disekitarnya. Ya, keluarga.

Dalam novel ini, yang mengalami konflik dalam menghadapi terminal illness justru Colin. I can relate to him, so much, because i i’ve been in his position. My mother died because of cancer, like his mom. Colin tried to be tough, without himself noticing. So much; suggesting that all will be fine. All is well. But, really?


Ide novel ini datang dari Siobhan Dowd dan Patrick Ness mengeksekusinya. Apparently, Sibhan Dowd juga seorang penulis. Hanya saja kini ia sudah meninggal. Ya, karena kanker. Dengan begitu, novel ini kisahnya terasa dekat.

Saya suka bahwa Patrick Ness memasukkan unsur fantasy untuk menyampaikan pesan moral dalam novel ini. Sehingga nasihatnya tidak terlalu gamblang dan interpretasi pembaca bisa lebih luas. Karena, kanker mungkin adalah satu tema besarnya tapi banyak sekali hal yang bercabang dari tema besar itu. Pembaca bisa mengambil pesan yang diinterpretasikannya, sesuai dengan irisan kisah yang dimilikinya sendiri. Setidaknya itu yang saya alami saat membaca buku ini.

Oia, sicklit (di luar Indonesia, setidaknya) menjadi perbincangan karena novel sicklit yang banyak telah hadir dalam dunia literasi global memperlihatkan perilaku karakter yang punya kecenderungan melakukan damaging action dan dibenarkan oleh illness issue yang mereka hadapi (maksud saya, poin ini: these books might encourage damaging behaviors or depression merely by planting the seeds into young, impressionable minds). Novel ini tak luput dari hal itu. Karena dalam novel ini, Colin mengalami fase angry di mana ia menghancurkan benda-benda hingga adu jotos dengan temannya. Di novel itu, meski Colin berharap agar ia mendapatkan hukuman, guru-gurunya justru memaklumi karena asumsi bahwa ia sedang berada dalam tekanan. Gimana pendapat kalian terhadap damaging action semacam itu?

Narasi Patrick Ness, mengalir saat dibaca. Makhluk fantasy (the Monster) yang dimasukkannya dalam cerita juga terbangun dengan meyakinkan. Novel ini, meski bertema ‘berat’ tapi bisa digolongkan light reading karena bisa habis dalam sekali baca dan tanpa mengurangi nilai-nilai moral yang berbobot di dalamnya. Dan apakah sata menangis dibuat novel ini? Ya. Tentu saja. Seolah saya berbagi kisah yang sama dengan Colin. Dan lebih dari itu, membaca novel ini saya seperti ditarik ke saat-saat terakhir saya bersama ibu saya. Mungkin itu faktor utama yang membuat saya menangis di beberapa bagian novel.

Bottom Line: Its a beautifully written novel. The story might feel too much for some people, especially some who has been through the same experience. But, it let us learn some perspective in dealing with something terminal (life and death issue).

Favorite line:

“I wish I had a hundred years,” she said, very quietly. “A hundred years I could give to you.”

Trivia:

  • The Yew tree

The yew tree is the most important of all the healing trees, it said. It lives for thousands of years. Its berries, its barks, its leaves, its sap, its pulp, its wood, they all thrum and burn and twist with life. It can cure almost any ailment man suffers from, mixed and treated by the right apothecary.

Sang monster yang berkata demikian kepada Colin, bahwa pohon yew (yang tak lain adalah perwujudan sang monster) menyembuhkan. Nah, menurut informasi yang saya baca dari Wikipedia, sang monster benar adanya. Setidaknya kalimat yang saya quote di atas senada dengan cuplikan informasi berikut ini:

In 1021, Avicenna introduced the medicinal use of T. baccata for phytotherapy in The Canon of Medicine. He named this herbal drug “Zarnab” and used it as a cardiacremedy. This was the first known use of a calcium channel blocker drug, which were not in wide use in the Western world until the 1960s.

Certain compounds found in the bark of yew trees were discovered by Wall and Wani in 1967 to have efficacy as anti-cancer agents. The precursors of the chemotherapydrug paclitaxel (taxol) can be synthesized easily from the extracts of the leaves of European yew,[30] which is a more renewable source than the bark of the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia). This ended a point of conflict in the early 1990s; many environmentalists, including Al Gore, had opposed the harvesting of yew for paclitaxel cancer treatments. Docetaxel can then be obtained by semi-synthetic conversion from the precursors.

In the Central Himalayas, the plant is used as a treatment for breast and ovarian cancer. (Source)

Submitted for:

Tema: Sicklit

Tema: Sicklit

2 thoughts on “#127 A Monster Calls

  1. Dari review-mu kayaknya buku ini memang recommended yah. Aku tadinya cuma tahu Chaos Walking Trilogy dari pengarang ini. Mudah-mudahan ada penerbit yang mau nerjemahin A Monster Calls sama Chaos Walking Trilogy juga.

    Like

  2. Pingback: New Authors Reading Challenge: July & August Update |

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