My Name is Monster by Katie Hale

Powerful and unflinching, Katie Hale's new novel is a gripping and intense dystopian fairytale

Book Review by Sim Bajwa | 31 May 2019
  • My Name is Monster by Katie Hale
Book title: My Name is Monster
Author: Katie Hale

My Name is Monster is a powerful and unflinching story of a woman nicknamed Monster, who survives the Sickness, a disease that seems to have killed the majority of the world’s population. She washes up on the coast of Scotland, having travelled by sea from the Arctic vault that kept her safe, and sets off to find a place to survive. She believes herself to be the lone survivor, until she comes across a young girl, alone and almost feral.

Deciding to name the girl after herself, she takes on the role of Mother, determined to teach her daughter how to survive. And then, as Monster grows up, guided and protected by Mother, we learn through her narrative what she wants from life and the ways in which she decides to rebel.

This is a humane, tender, and often painful exploration of the ways in which daughters consider themselves to be braver, smarter, and more independent than their mothers, as well as the strength of love and hope in an empty world. Hale has crafted a gripping and intense dystopian fairytale, digging into the differences between Monster and Mother, and how they hold onto each other and push each other away, even as they depend on each other for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Beautifully written, it’s a must-read for anyone interested in power dynamics between parents and children. 

Canongate, 6 Jun, £14.99