(30/1)2017) Book review: Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Zach is eighteen. He is bright and articulate. He’s also an alcoholic and in rehab instead of high school, but he doesn’t remember how he got there. He’s not sure he wants to remember. Something bad must have happened. Something really, really bad. Remembering sucks and being alive – well, what’s up with that?

I didn’t like this book to begin with. The character’s voice reminded me of Holden Caulfield’s in The Catcher in the Rye, which is a book I seriously disliked. It took a lot to get me into the story, and feel invested in the main character – Zach.

I spent about 70% of the story feeling it was 3 star novel at best. It wasn’t until the very end when I actually felt something for Zach, that I learnt anything about him really, or that the story progressed at all. I understand the aim to create mystery and tension by withholding his back story, but a lot of the lead up to the reveal felt like filler and no real necessity to be there.

I didn’t find this as emotional as I think the author would have liked me too, considering the contents of the plot. The writing was pretty basic, not very emotive, and the dialogue repetitive at times.

But towards the end, Saenz really pulled it together and I felt content with where the novel ended. He delved more into Zach’s feeling and his relationships, with his family and Adam and Raphael, and I wish the whole book had been like the last third.

Because of that though, I gave this a 4 star review, as I feel the ending picked it up.



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