Home > Senior Fiction, Young Adult > Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Last night I sang to the monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Pub. Cinco Puntos Press, 2009.

A brilliant novel!  not for everyone, although everyone should read it, but they won’t.

The reason I say this is because it addresses the question that concerns everybody.  Who or what, is in charge of our lives? What drives and motivates us as individuals? Are we in charge of our own lives? If we don’t like the answer how do, or how can we sort it? Deep stuff!!

It is the story of Zach. An 18 year old high school student with a serious alcohol problem.

Zach lives with his depressed mother who makes improper suggestions to him, and  his alcoholic father who pays Zach little attention. They are visited on occasion by Zach’s older brother Santiago who is a violent psychopath. This is a dysfunctional family.

Zach’s way out is to drink and drink he does. Then something traumatic happens and Zach goes on a bender to forget and almost kills himself. When he wakes he is in a rehabilitation unit where he has a therapist, Adam, and he shares a cabin with Sharkey, a 27 year old rich kid who is rebelling against his family, and Raphael a 57 year old man who has a host of problems. They are all addicts but they need each other.

Zach doesn’t want to remember what happened but sooner or later he is going to have to front up. And with help he does.

Zach narrates this story and he opens the book with these lines “Some people have dogs. Not me. I have a therapist. His name is Adam. I’d rather have a dog”. A brilliant beginning, and the book continues in similar vein.

Totally compelling reading, I couldn’t put this book down.

The novel is structured in short chapters with short sentences and is easy to read in spite of the complex issues it puts to the reader. The dialogue is sharp, direct and enviable. I wish I could say some of those things. The discussions in the Group therapy sessions are just stunning.

What’s more this book has a positive ending, and heavens that matters a great deal.

Senior secondary and young adult in appeal. But there is something in this novel that everyone can relate to. Everyone!!

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