Tuesday, May 24, 2011
A Review of 'Last Night I Sang to the Monster' by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
'I have it in my head that when we're born, God writes things down on our hearts. See, on some people's hearts he writes Happy and on some people's hearts Sad and on some people's hearts he writes Crazy and on some people's hearts he writes Genius and on some people's hearts he writes Angry and on some people's hearts he writes Winner and on some people's hearts he writes Loser. It's all a game to him. Him. God. And it's all pretty much random. He takes out his pen and starts writing on our blank hearts. When it came to my turn, he wrote sad. I don't like God very much. Apparently he doesn't like me very much either.'
'Last Night I Sang to the Monster' was such an honest book. I appreciated that no gory detail was spared. Not that this book was terribly gory. Blood keeps appearing in Zach's dreams, but that makes more sense once you reach the end of the book.
What I liked was the perspective. Zach is an alcoholic and he's eighteen years old. Before reading this, if you had asked me how old someone has to be to be an alcoholic, I would have naively said twenty-one, because in the U.S., that's the legal drinking age. I knew that people my age have gotten into alcohol in the past and will undoubtedly continue to get into it, but I was unable to place two and two together for whatever reason. It was a lot more interesting to hear from someone who is practically my age.
Another thing that I felt Sáenz did well was character development. Each of the characters was different from the other. They came with their own sets of problems and hang-ups and personalities. But they all interacted well together and everything just fell into place. Very well done.
Something that was a little off was the ending. Ultimately, I like how the book ends. It was the getting there part that was iffy for whatever reason. As much as I liked it, the ending just felt too good to be true.
What I didn't like were the terms "tore me up" and "wigged me out." Half the time, I couldn't tell if these phrases had a good or a bad connotation (at least "tore me up" had that effect). It was confusing and it seemed a little old-fashioned for a book published in 2009 (I associate "wigged me out" with the seventies or eighties).
Overall, a very powerful read! I fully intend to read more books by Sáenz.
I give 'Last Night I Sang to the Monster':