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).

Cover Collection: Frankenstein

Frankenstein Covers

1. Penguin Classics // 2. Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classics // 3. Penguin Classics //

4. Oxford World’s Classics // 5. Vintage // 6. Everyman’s Library //

I have read Frankenstein one time in my life and it was not a happy experience. I read it for a British literature class in college and I so disliked the teaching assistant who was assigned to me that I had anxiety over every assignment and struggled to care. I have recollections of liking the book and being fascinated by how it is so different from any of the films made from it, but I still, sadly, think of that condescending, jerky TA when I think of Frankenstein. Maybe I should read it again to banish him from my mind! If I were to read Frankenstein again I think I’d like to own a copy of No. 1 – I love the cover. Which Frankenstein cover do you like?

In other news – my June trip to Italy has been postponed. The friend who I am traveling with had a setback with her childcare arrangements and so we are unable to go next month. I’m disappointed, but we’ve decided to go in October instead – five more months to save money and plan!