Read Before You Watch

A Monster Calls

Michaela Korges, Cactus Writer

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Before going to see the movie, A Monster Calls , you should read the book. The book addresses some deep-seeded fears that are shared by people who have lost someone close to them or even have someone they didn’t want to lose. The book does not dance around these fears but instead forces you to look closely at something you never wanted to face but nonetheless need to deal with. The moral of the story could be: sometimes you must do the thing you least want to do in order to live your life. It does all this while still focusing on the exploits of a boy and his monster (it’s been done before). Therefore, it would be a terrible crime to see a movie before getting the full emotional value of the book and ruin a good story.
Emotional value aside, there are a few logical reasons to read the book before watching the movie. First, when you adapt a book to a movie you often must cut some material out, and most of the time, that material is monologue in the book. This isn’t always a bad thing to lose, but one of the strengths of the book A Monster Calls is its monologue and the inner struggles of the protagonist. A favorite phrase of the movie industry is “show don’t tell” but as far as the book goes the phrase might as well be “tell don’t show.” Secondly, in the book there is mystery surrounding whether or not the monster is real or if the boy is causing all the chaos. It will be difficult to translate this mystery into a movie when the audience is seeing and therefore, believing. If you read the book first you get the full experience of the story before going to see what the movie makers included from the source material and what they added.
A story which works well in written form may not translate well to a movie. The movie may give audiences the chance to see things that they didn’t get to see in the book. I am sure that the director will try his best to stay true to the source material. The movie format may also capture the emotion that the book does. However, the emotional reward of sticking with the book to the painful end is well worth your time. Not everyone will enjoy or have a visceral reaction to the book, but that doesn’t mean the captivating writing and the story will release you until the very end.

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