My Name is Monster

My Name is Monster


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: feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. Changing her own name to Mother, Monster names the child after herself. As young Monster learns from Mother, she also discovers her own desires, realising that she wants very different things to the woman who made, but did not create, her.

Inspired by Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein, My Name is Monster is a novel about power, about the things that society leaves imprinted on us when the rules no longer apply, and about the strength and the danger of a mother’s love.

Our Review

My Name is Monster by Katie Hale had an interesting premise and I read it just over a day.

After the Sickness and War have killed off most of the world’s population a girl named Monster emerges from the Arctic Vault which kept her alive. Believing she is alone in the world she travels from place to place scavenging to try to make an existence for herself.

Then one day Monster stumbles into a feral young girl and decides to help her. She doesn’t know if the young girl will remember that the word monster can be something to be scared of so she decides to call herself Mother, the most comforting word she can think of. She then decides to name the young girl Monster and to remake her in her own image. However, the young girl named Monster isn’t so sure she wants the same things as her creator.

Now, some comparisons have been made between this book and both Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein. I haven’t read the former and I don’t really get the comparison the latter. Having said that I don’t think the book needs to be likened to others as it works well just by being itself.

I love the dystopian genre and I think My Name is Monster is a pretty good example.

If I were being picky, I could say I wasn’t overly keen on the ending, I don’t know quite what I was expecting but it was definitely something a little more than I got. However, I would still reread this book and recommend it to others.  

One thing I particularly liked about My Name is Monster is that it was obvious from the beginning that this was going to be a bleak book.

 “I lived with the ice, on the ice, inside it – locked on the island as the rest of the world grew desperate with rage and disease. As the missiles fell and the cities were blasted by a thousand-degree heat.”

Monster or ‘Mother’ as she is known later in the book is quite a cold and dispassionate character. Some readers might find it hard to empathise with her because of this but as time goes on it is easy a bit easier to understand her motivations for her seemingly cold nature.

“Survival has a cost. It always had a cost, and the cost is being alone, cutting out friends and family like a cancerous growth and searing the wound behind them.”

A favourite part of mine in the initial stages of the book was the part where the reader learns how she came to have her rather unusual name in the first place:

“My father called me Monster. It was supposed to be ironic., I think – an affectionate joke.

As I got older, my mother tried to change it, but by then the name had solidified around me. It was a shame, she said for such a pretty child to have an ugly name.

As for me, I grew into my name and out of curls. I think it takes a monster to survive after nobody else can.”

One aspect of My Name is Monster that made it stand out slightly within the genre was the exploration of the concept of what it is to be a woman, the role a mother should play in a child’s life and also whether it is necessary to give birth to someone before you can call yourself ‘mother.’

“Sometimes I wonder if I can still call myself a woman even though I know longer bleed. Then I wonder if I ever thought of myself as a woman even when I did. Then I remember there are no women anyway, just as there are no men, so what does it matter?”

All in all I would be interested in reading something from this author again.


Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4/5

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