Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge

IMG_8579As you all probably know, 2018 is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. There are lots of books and articles being published about the book and its author (when I have time I want to read this one from The New Yorker) in this commemorative year.

One of the most intriguing of these tributes is Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lita Judge. It was brought to my attention by a coworker who was pondering where it should go in our collection at the library. It is an illustrated volume that tells the story of Shelley’s childhood and young adulthood in the form of first-person free verse poems from her own point of view. Can you see our dilemma? Should it go in the biography section, the fiction section or the graphic novel section?

Whatever section it is in it is a fascinating and beautiful book. The illustrations are dark and gothic (you can see some of the images here) and perfectly convey the feelings Mary has as she mourns the lack of a mother, suffers a rocky relationship with her father and stepmother, the joy yet hardship of running away with Percy Bysshe Shelley as a teen, jealousy, grief, creative intensity – Judge covers it all. The poems are laden with intensity and emotion and tell Mary’s story in a forthright and sympathetic way. I really loved it and hope it will find an audience at my library – at every library.

If you are interested in Mary Shelley and in Frankenstein I think this is one of the books about her published this year that you need to seek out.

Are you planning to read anything about Mary Shelley this year?

(How did we end up cataloging this book? As Young Adult Fiction).

8 thoughts on “Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge

  1. I wasn’t planning on reading anything about Mary Shelley, but I will now!! All the news and articles got me super interested. Also, there was a wonderful podcast about her on History Extra titled Mary Shelley and her monster.


  2. I read Frankenstein eons ago – back in college, I think. I’ve never read anything about Mary Shelley, but this sounds wonderful.

    If it hadn’t been in verse, would it have fit better into biography? Or was it too fictionalized, regardless of the form?


    1. I think it is too fictionalized to be in biography. And I really don’t think anyone would find and check it out there. It has a better chance to be seen in YA Fiction – hopefully.


  3. I probably will read something about Mary Shelley this year, I’m not sure what though. It took me years to get around to reading Frankenstein as I didn’t think it would appeal to me but I ended up really liking it and I was flabbergasted when the storyline took a turn to Scotland, it all felt really local to me.


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