Publication Date: 2018
Page Count: 320
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Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley created Frankenstein tells Mary Shelley's life and woes with beautiful illustrations. From her own birth, which brings misfortune, to the death of her beloved, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the creation of her masterpiece and the science fiction genre, Mary Shelley's story is heartbreaking and poetic.
I read Frankenstein a couple of years ago, and I believe it is one of the best and most important novels ever written, even more impressive, is that Shelley was eighteen years old when she began writing it. I researched the origin of the novel a little bit when I first read it, as I was writing a paper on it, and immediately knew I needed to learn more about Shelley. When I saw this one, I was interested, but upon learning it was completely illustrated, I immediately ran to my library to grab it.
The story of Shelley's life is told in free-verse and accompanied by absolutely breathtaking illustrations. The back-flap reveals that this books took Judge five years to finish, and I cannot imagine how much work went into this novel. Every illustration is a full-page or double-page charcoal drawing, which captures the mood of Shelley's life perfectly.
Mary Shelley had a turbulent life and romance with the famous poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her fear of and tragic experiences with pregnancy and birth lead her to explore themes of creation and motherhood in Frankenstein and her involvement with Shelley, Byron, and others in the Romantic circle allowed for her to create and publish her novel. Shelley wrote Frankenstein in nine months, while she was pregnant with her second child; her first had died ten days after birth. It was published anonymously, but after it's great success with the public, Lord Byron published proof that Shelley was the author.
This biography is a great introduction to Shelley's life. It gives the complete story of Shelley and her creation, but it doesn't go too deep. I have plans to read much larger biographies, but I'm glad that I read this one first. The art is what really makes this novel. Shelley was an amazingly brilliant woman who defied society at every turn and created one of the most important and popular novels ever written. I recommend this novel for all levels of interest in Shelley and her work. Even if you are a seasoned-Shelley-scholar, the artwork in this novel is worth seeing alongside her story.