Last Night I Sang to the Monster (Brillianceaudio on Compact Disc) Audio CD – Import, 20 September 2011
Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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- Audio CD : 6 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1455824240
- ISBN-13 : 978-1455824243
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 13.97 x 0.64 cm
- Item Weight : 1 kg 580 g
- Publisher : Brilliance Audio; Unabridged edition (20 September 2011)
- Reading level : 14 - 17 years
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
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“I have a new theory", he said, "and the theory is this: if I develop a great capacity for feeling pain, then I am also developing a great capacity for feeling happiness.”
This quote was one of my favorites and it summarizes the book pretty well. Benjamin Alire Sáenz has been one of my favorite authors since I read Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the Universe, and the more I read his novels, the more I love and admire him. He has poured his heart and soul into his books and it shows. And if I may add, I don’t know if it’s just me, but his books came into my life in a moment I needed them.
This one in particular reminded me that everybody has monsters, and we all struggle with things from our past, whether they’re broken relationships with a lover, with family, friends or even with ourselves. I mean, I’m an adult and there are still things I don’t know about myself, because every day I’m growing for better or worse. But Last night I sang to the monster took me to places I tend to avoid because they touched a sensitive vibe in me.
Benjamin writes in a way that it doesn’t matter if you’re 15, 25 or 35, you’re going to get emotional either way. All his characters are too real and especially those who have a big heart, are the ones that had stayed with me ever since. And even when they’re fictional people, I just want to protect them from all the harm in the world.
In here we meet Zach, a young adult who suddenly wakes up in a facility where ill people are gathered. I dare to say it’s a psychiatric hospital where people can go and try to get into a program that would help with their struggles. Some of them are alcohol addicts, other are into drugs, or have anger issues. Consequentially, most of them don’t know how to stop hurting themselves one way or another, but they’re there because they want to get better but don’t know how to start or how to deal with the whole process of living with a mental illness, or how to overcome an addiction and stay sober.
Except for Zach. He doesn’t even know why he is there. He can’t remember what happen before that. And every time he tries, he shuts down.
So, little by little, we get to know his roommates, Rafael and Sharkey; and his doctor, Adam. Rafael is an old man with a smile that can lit up a room, but who has had depression ever since he was a kid; Sharkey, a young man that apparently has it all from his parents, except for love and understanding; and of course, Adam, a doctor that actually cares about Zach and he tries, by all means, to help him understand what happened so he can start healing.
Now, I truly don’t want to spoil the whole thing because I think that going blind with this book might be a better choice. Yet, I think this is an accurate representation of how several things affect not only us but also the people that we love. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know how to express ourselves when we’re hurting, or we simply don’t know how to deal or how to react to problems that are not under our control.
It’s way too easier to pretend that everything is fine, that we have an amazing life, when in reality we have an enormous hole inside us, and so, to fill it up, we find comfort in drugs, alcohol, sex, or abusive relationships.
And I mean, I’ve been there. I truly know what it’s like to feel lost. When I was a teenager I had depression and I tried, by all means, to fill the hole inside me, to feel good enough and worthy. I tried to find love in places that couldn’t even feel it, least give it. I did not love myself back then due to many things, but the fact was that I didn’t understand why I had to be in so much pain. Why couldn’t I be happy? And I mean, how could I? Did I deserve it? Why on earth was I alive if it didn’t matter what I did? I’d still be worthless.
Now I know that there was something inside me that was wrong. That I truly didn’t have friends, only people who took advantage of me. And I blamed myself for everything that was wrong, even if it wasn’t my responsibility or my choice. But now that I’m older, I’ve realized that I’m responsible for my own happiness, my own serenity, and what other people do or don’t do, it’s on them.
I felt a great amount of pain, and I’ve had to deal with loss and grief. I’ve been lied to, I’ve been manipulated, rejected and insulted by my own family; I’ve had terrible relationships that were never meant to last. But still, after all that struggle, now I know better. Now I’m stronger and I know that everything that happens, both good and bad, is temporary. That it is better to go with the flow and accept the things that I cannot change, but still try to get better on the things that I do have control over.
In a few words, this book brought me back to those dark times in my life and it broke my heart once again. I cried, and cried, and cried, to the point that I was like “why can’t I stop? How in the world do I have so many tears inside me?”. And yet, it also gave me hope and a sense of purpose. It reminded me that my story may actually help others.
And perhaps that was the purpose of this book anyway. I’m sure Benjamin is the kind of author that has the ability to see us humans in a raw, real way. That’s why he can write so many characters that we can identify with because we’re both good and bad, and compassionate but harmful too. We, as humans, are dual creatures, and we can survive lots of things, but we can also create chaos and destruction among ourselves. The big question is what we decide to do with our lives, and how we cope up with what’s happening outside our heads.
I absolutely recommend this book but please, be aware that it deals with dark topics like I mentioned in the beginning of this review. Still, it is one of my favorite books from 2019 and despite all the crying, I cannot wait to read his other novels!