What a beautiful book!
The story focuses on a young boy named Conor. Conor’s mum is extremely sick and requires a lot of treatment. Through the pain and worry for his mum Conor starts having a nightmare, just one, that comes every night and leaves him awake and terrified.
One night after waking the ‘monster’ comes. It is the Yew Tree that lives in the grounds of the graveyard behind Conor’s house. The tree tells Conor he must tell the truth, he does not know what the tree means. The tree vows to come back to Conor and tell him three stories. These stories have a fable-like quality to them, as if the tree is trying to teach Conor something about himself but he can’t quite understand the true meaning of these stories. As the book moves on Conor’s mum gets progressively more ill and is taken into hospital, the school bully keeps pestering Conor and the tree keeps telling stories. It’s not until Conor starts getting angry that the reader starts seeing what may be coming, what the ultimate point of the story may lead to.
The ‘truth’ that the monster is attempting to get Conor to realize and admit to came as a surprise to me, I hadn’t expected it but it almost seemed obvious. This is an extremely touching novel that anyone can relate to. I would highly recommend this book as although it’s only a short read it is surprisingly profound and quite heart wrenching in places.
Patrick Ness is the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy which I would also recommend, it is through reading and loving those books that I came across this one and I know I shall definitely be re-reading this beautifully written story!