Short Review for Emil Ferris’ My Favorite Thing is Monsters — By Lauren Allen
Emil Ferris’ My Favorite Thing is Monsters is a journal of young Karen Reyes from 1960’s Chicago. In the first book of the two-part series, Ferris compels the reader through her ballpoint-pen-on-notebook-paper art style and a mystery that haunts everyone we meet in the story. Our protagonist, Karen, is a werewolf—but only she sees herself that way. She has an obsession with all things horror, comics, art, and monsters.
My favorite part of My Favorite Thing is Monsters is the beautifully drawn horror comic covers and realistically drawn iconic works of art scattered throughout the novel. Deez, Karen’s older brother, gives Karen these comic books, sparking her in-depth relationship with fine art. Karen’s introspective understanding of art demonstrates her ability to think critically. She often lets the art guide her investigation and leaps from painting to painting. Also, her infatuation with horror is apparent throughout the whole novel, but my favorite thing is her intense craving to get bitten by one so that she can bite her whole family and make them immortal. Karen’s love for her family is the driving factor throughout the novel and cuts up the scenes of sex, drugs, and murder with an innocence that warms the heart.
As much as I love this novel, I would not say it is an easy or quick read. The novel is very word-heavy and the pages have to be navigated with concentration. However, the almost scattered and directionless element to each page invites the reader to join Karen on the investigation to find out who killed her neighbor Anka (who is featured on the cover). Keeping in mind that the novel is the journal of Karen—a middle schooler—her thoughts and comprehension of mature and heavy concepts made her a character that I not only sympathized with, but also could relate to on many levels. Karen represents the children that had to grow up way too fast.
The novel deconstructs grief and acts of love through the eyes of a middle school werewolf girl in a style of art almost beyond comprehension. Ferris truly does something that has never been done before with her style of art and the beautiful character development she employs. The end will leave you on the edge of your seat, craving more.