Book Review: Monster by A. Lee Martinez

Monster HeaderThe word monster makes me think of the three things.  First, of dancing along to the monster mash as my classmates and I scampered around the Halloween themed obstacle course constructed out of mats, ropes, and scooters in my elementary school gym.  The day when the gym lights were turned off, ghoulish music blasted, and the obstacle course stood fully erect made for best gym class all year, and not just because it meant a brief reprieve from square dancing (with boys…eeew…cooties!) or other equally gut wrenching activities invented for the sole purpose of torturing us youngins (uhhh, volleyball?  Anyone?  Ok so maybe I just have sensitive wrists).  The second thing monster brings to mind is Monsters Inc, which is by far the greatest Pixar movie in existence.  Anyone that doesn’t want to curl up in the blue fuzzy arms of “Kitty” (a.k.a. Sully) is just dead inside.  And finally, who can think of monsters without thinking of Lady Gaga?  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Gaga, but she wears dresses made of raw meat!  If that is not horrifying I don’t know what is.

Needless to say, I have very fond sentiments toward all three of these monsters, be they memories, fictional characters, or poker-faced.  I was eager to add a fourth “Monster” to the list – i.e., the book Monster by A. Lee Martinez, which Lauren chose for this month’s book club selection.  However, to do so would do a disservice to monsters all around the world.  And if you can’t even hang with monsters, then really, who will accept you?  This book was just plain awful on all counts: one-dimensional characters, a poorly constructed story line, a despicable ending.  Plus, I know it was supposed to be satirical, but even that felt forced to me.  Here are the cliff notes.

Monster is a human, who after an unfortunate run-in with a Basilisk, now wakes up each day with a different power, his skin a different shade of color, and from what I can tell, hating life and hating himself.  If there are two things I can’t stand, they’re apathy and hateful people – and in terms of those two delightful traits Monster is the total package.  Monster works as a cryptobiologist (basically, he puts containment spells on magical creatures that have somehow found their way to Earth).  One day after being called to a grocery store on account of some yetis with a case of the munchies, he meets Judy.  It seems as though the magical creatures just can’t get enough of Judy, because the next day Monster is called to her apartment again on her behalf.  It turns out the universe has big plans for Judy, and by some twist of fate Monster has inadvertently, and quite unwillingly I might add, become her protector.

I hate to give any spoilers in my reviews, so I won’t.  However, let me just say that Monster has the WORST ending I have read in a long time.  If I had any hope in the salvation of mankind and the ability of a person to redeem him- or herself, Monster’s character does everything in his power to ruin that for me.  The only nice thing I can say about this book is that it was short and a quick read, so it was over very quickly.

Do yourself a favor, and instead of wasting your time on this Monster, go hang out with “Kitty” and Mike Wazowski.  You’ll thank me later.

Final Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


One thought on “Book Review: Monster by A. Lee Martinez

  1. “Monster” by Meg & Dia. Also a goo one, though you selection wins. I think you hated this one slightly more than I did, but we have definitely started a low ratings run with our book selection. Hopefully Zach can pull us out of it.

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