Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Zach is in rehab with no memory of how he got there. His therapist tells him that he was going through alcohol withdrawal so severe that he could have died, but all of the other details remain hidden in Zach’s mind. As Zach goes through therapy, learning from therapists and others going through rehab, he learns to feel emotions again even though he longs to stay in the cocoon of amnesia that he has built. This powerful novel shows the unpeeling of denial and addiction to reach the essence of memory and humanity.
This book reads like a poem, a prayer. The language is by turns languid and thoughtful and then raging and taut. Readers are not spared from the emotional onslaught of recovery and truth as Zach slowly realizes what has happened to him. The prose is an inner dialogue, a wandering but purposeful journey through memory. It is a stream of consciousness that flows like a raging river, cleansing and correcting as it goes. Zach is an amazing character who even when in denial and doubt, shines like a beacon. He is strong in the face of such overwhelming change and brave as he faces his demons.
This is a book filled with such truth and honesty that it is searing and painful to witness. It is a book that will capture teen readers and not let them loose even when they finish the novel. Highly recommended, this book is appropriate for ages 15-18.
Reviewed from library copy.