Why Do Monsters Come Out At Night? – Christine Fieldhouse

As avid readers will know, there has been a market saturation of ‘misery books’ – as the author of this very one calls them. However, the difference with Why Do Monsters Come Out At Night? is it isn’t a straight narrative about the writer’s past. It’s contrasted with her life the way it is now, and more pointedly, the childhood of her young son. It is this comparison that really emphasises the terrible time Christine had. It also shows how different people bring up their children, and it’s very touching to see the ferocity with which parents will protect their offspring.

I really enjoyed this book for those reasons – I’d definitely class it as unputdownable. What made it so compelling was the detail Fieldhouse went into. This meant you could really identify with her as a child and also get to know the other people in her family. I adored the passages on her life now, and the endearing stories she told about her young son, and the cute things he said.

The book also brought a tear to my eye at times because Christine talks about her childhood, then her son, and says although she sometimes gets angry with her son, she could never envision treating him the way her father treated her. Although physical violence only occured once in Christine’s childhood, the mental abuse she must have been through is horrific – and I think it’s fantastic the way she has bared her soul because it increases awareness of alcohol abuse and the way it can affect families. Some people are of the opinion that it’s just the person who is drinking that is affected. I know from personal experience that this is not true, and that it can tear apart families. It can, however, bring the remaining members closer together, which is what happens in this case. Christine, although terrified of her father, defends her mother as much as possible.

Despite the serious and emotional subject matter, I didn’t find this depressing like some of the ‘misery books,’ simply because the passages which talk about Christine’s young son really bring a brilliant ray of sunshine. The things they do together, and the things the little one says are hilarious and had me tittering along. This was an excellent book and I’d recommend it even if you’re someone that has become disillusioned with the genre.

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