Book Review: “A Monster Ate My Mum” Story by Jen Faulkner, Illustrated by Helen Braid

The first aspect of this book that intrigued me was the artwork. The cover shows an exhausted, confused child face to face with a monster of some kind. Eye to eye. Toe to toe. It’s quite disturbing.


“A Monster Ate My Mum” by Jen Faulkner, and illustrated beautifully by Helen Braid, is a children’s book about post natal depression. It’s a bold move to convey such hidden, violent feelings into a book. It can’t be an easy thing, explaining post natal depression to your own child. With what limited experience I have personally I doubt I’d be able to get to the nub of it. Any form of depression is a monster of an unknown quantity. It is born in a place unfathomable to the mind. It cannot help but grow.

The plot follows a young boy as he searches for the answers for his mum’s PND. Along the way he meets a handful of monsters who have not only eaten his mummy’s spirit, they each appear to symbolise aspects of the author’s depression. Her smile, her laugh etc. Interestingly each of the monsters play a rather passive, somewhat friendly part. There is a feeling that the threat has already passed. That the monsters have been there for a long time. Certainly it’s evident that the author is all too well acquainted with each one.

Perhaps this is an indication of when the author had begun to turn a psychological corner with her illness. The characterisation of an inner problem. The unknown becoming all too real.

At times the prose doesn’t quite roll off the tongue. There are some parts that need explaining. The end has a touch of sadness to it. However this only adds to the layering of the experience of PND. The infinite uncertainty on all sides. For subject matter such as this, explaining it must a tread onto a murky but evidently personal path. Some feelings are almost impossible to put into words. Jen has done a fine job of explaining her story to us but, as with any depression, you can’t put everything into words.

The illustrations add a mood laden vibrancy to the story.  The use of rich, textual backgrounds show an almost dreamlike state as the boy wanders through his mother’s mind. The choice and use of particular colours cleverly indicate mood and setting. Each monster is less than threatening which makes it an easier read for younger children.

In conclusion I would say that this book tackles a personal and often devastating subject very well. I respect the author for exploring these depths of her illness. I enjoyed the emotional, colour fueled journey of the young boy. It is important that these journeys, and these feelings are discussed and explored. It is important that they become less of a stigma and more of a strange comfort.

You can find out more, and buy the title, here.

About these ads

One thought on “Book Review: “A Monster Ate My Mum” Story by Jen Faulkner, Illustrated by Helen Braid

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Educating Sausages

Home Education and anything else...

The Culture Monk

Coffee & Conversation - The Periphrastic Mind of Kenneth Justice


Not a journalist or a writer, just a dad to two amazing children. Oh, and I love cheese.

Hazy Eyes

Mum. Student. Partner. Woman.

The Adventures of a Potty Mouthed Mummy

Spouting sarcasm and swear words and being me.

Tahrir & Beyond

Revolution bound

A Pencil Skirt

A skirt, what pencils.

An Independent UK Hip-Hop Blog

Written by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts.

Lyric's Thoughts

Thoughts on single motherhood, life and a few reviews in between


Just another site


Just another site

Talk To The Shoe

The writing team of award-winning romance author Kat Bastion and Stone Bastion


Writer - loves red wine, coffee, raspberries & tennis. Secretly wanted to be a backing singer but alas, has missed that boat. Only the bathtub left to sing in now.

A Real Mummy Diary

From first time pregnancy to full-time mummy. An honest (slightly crazed) account of pregnancy, parenting with The Real Man and life in between!

Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker


The exaggerated ravings of a normal Dad

Dad and Buried

The anti-parenting parenting blog.

Best Dad I Can Be

The funny side of family life


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 804 other followers

%d bloggers like this: