January 18, 2018

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Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge | SLJ Review

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redstarJUDGE, Lita. Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created ­Frankenstein. illus. by Lita Judge. 320p. bibliog. notes. Roaring Brook. Jan. 2018. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781626725003.

Gr 7 Up –Judge details the life of the great Mary Shelley through poetry in this atmospheric and illustrated volume. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a classic masterpiece of horror and science fiction, and Judge treats it as such, hyping up the events that would lead to it’s creation—from her tumultuous relationship with Percy Bysshe Shelley to trials and tribulations of being a disowned woman in the 1800s. Readers will be enthralled by the dark and exacting verse, beautifully accompanied by haunting black-and-white watercolor spreads. In the poem “I Am Seventeen”: “Already/I am daughter to a ghost/and mother to bones.” This work does not skimp on the details, however sordid they may be. The pain, fervor, and tragic events that drove Shelley’s inspiration for Frankenstein will sit with readers well after the volume is finished. It also discusses the issue of women’s rights at the time (or lack thereof) in a somberly poignant way that mirrors many of Shelley’s own experiences. VERDICT A must-purchase for any middle and high school or public library YA collections, particularly where Gothic horror is in demand.–Molly Dettmann, Moore Public Library, OK

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2018 issue.

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