Friday, January 22, 2010
Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Zach knows two things - his past life and where he is now.
In his past life, he had a father who was alcoholic, a mother who was clinically depressed, and a brother who ruled with his anger. In order to avoid this, Zach would disappear with his friends, getting drunk and using drugs to escape. He also remembers people his in past life. He remembers Mr. Garcia, who saw the potential in him, but Zach never believed it. He does remember that Mr. Garcia showed him kindness and acceptance, which is smoething he never got from anyone.
And Zach knows where he is now. He's in rehab for his drinking problem. He knows he's been there for awhile and also realizes that he doesn't have to be there since he's eighteen years old. He knows it's a place he needs to be. He also knows that the people in there with him have affected him, even though he doesn't want it. There's his therapist Adam, who seems to see right through him but won't give him the answers he wants. And there's Rafael, an older man who truly see him when others may not.
What Zach doesn't know is how he came to be in rehab in the first place. Something went down, and he's repressed those memories...the other thing he doesn't see too well but knows it's real are the monsters that chase him, haunt him...want to tear him apart, perhaps not physically, but hurt him nonetheless.
What is he hiding, even from himself? And who or what are the monsters that want to hurt him?
Saenz has written an extremely realistic novel about a young man and his journey through rehab, but it's more than that. Saenz not only makes the main character stand out, but the secondary characters are just as real and important. Without them, not only would Zach's world fall apart, but so would the storyline. Beautifully written around one life, stories of other lives begin to speak to the reader as well. Strong written and emotionally charged, readers will be drawn in. Highly recommended.