My Name is Monster – Katie Hale
Publication date: 6th June 2019
After the Sickness has killed off her parents, and the bombs have fallen on the last safe cities, Monster emerges from the Arctic vault which has kept her alive. When she washes up on the coast of Scotland, everyone she knows is dead, and she believes she is alone in an empty world.
Monster begins the long walk south, scavenging and learning the contours of this familiar land made new. Slowly, piece by piece, she begins to rebuild a life. Until, one day, she finds a girl: another survivor, feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. But the lessons the girl learns are not always those Monster means to teach …Taken from My Name is Monster
If there’s one thing I love it is dystopian fiction. I love it so much that I read it too much and ended up moving away from it completely, possibly for over a year. So when I was offered the opportunity to review My Name is Monster I felt refreshed and ready to delve back in.
I absolutely love the premise of this book. It’s about human nature regardless of our environment and human nature as a result of our environment. We have a fundamental need to have contact with others; to be wanted and held, as well as a drive to procreate. But environment also plays an important part in our lives which means that we can have an impact on someone to whom we are not genetically linked.
When Monster comes across a girl, she continues a cycle of which she didn’t even know she was part – it becomes a struggle of power, possession, and the selfish nature of human beings. As we follow the story there is little concept of the passage of time – weeks, months, years: it all loses meaning. A clever from Hale reminder that time is a human construct (as was my interpretation anyway).
My Name is Monster is a difficult book to review. It’s just stunning in its delivery – one of those books that sits deep in your brain and you can mull it over long after you’ve stopped reading.
It is raw, uncomfortable, and will make you squirm as a reflection of some of your own behaviours that you may not be keen to own. A stunning debut from Hale; of which she has much reason to be proud.
Many thanks to Canongate for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
You can support your local bookshop by buying My Name is Monster through them directly, or via Hive.
What do you think of My Name is Monster? Will you be reading it? Let me know in the comments below.