“How do you say to your child in the night
Nothing’s all black, but then nothing’s all white?
How do you say it will all be all right
When you know that it might not be true?
What do you do?
Careful the things you say
Children will listen”
- ‘Children Will Listen’ from Into the Woods
The story is simple.
A monster visits a boy, Conor, whose mother is battling cancer.
The monster advises that he was called by Conor to help him. The monster will tell him three stories, and in return the monster wants the truth.
‘Conor blinked. Then blinked again. “You’re going to tell me stories?”
Indeed, the monster said.
“Well-” Conor looked around in disbelief. “How is that a nightmare?”
Stories are the wildest things of all, the monster rumbled. Stories chase and bite and hunt.’ (pg.35)
I decided to make this a mini review because the plot is very simple, and talking at length could take away from others’ experience of the novel.
But, oh my. I just sobbed, for about the last fifty pages. I almost couldn’t continue because I was so emotionally wrecked by this story.
This is where words are going to fail me, because I wish I could describe to you every emotion I was feeling as I read those last pages. I think many people have been and will be deeply moved by this story.
I thought I knew the lesson and the point of the story, but I realized, like the monster said, that stories are wild. This story released a deep fear I have, that one day I will be the mother in this tale. I felt deeply the agony that both the mother and the son were going through.
Grief and the idea of someone being taken from you are hard enough concepts for adults. I thought this story beautifully illustrated the journey this young man goes through to be able to survive the future.
Score: 10/10 (I wish I had a higher score to give)
In the Margins:
- The pictures I used are from the hardback version and done by Jim Kay. If you buy this book (which you should), then it needs to be this version. It is stunning.
- Next week: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (and the movie!)