Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Scary Stories: "Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein"

 Perhaps it has been the pandemic (well, very likely), but the Ghost has been reading more of the long to read list which awaits him on his shelf. I have finished a book.

 "Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein" is a beautiful, haunting and primal look at writer Mary Shelley's life. I have to admit, that I have been a lifetime lover of horror, and "Frankenstein" has near biblical status in my person canon-- but reading this book was the most personal and informative account of Mary's life that I have experienced.

 A graphic novel, the text here is often prose, resulting in a long form poem that would work on its own but excels with the beautiful, ghostly yet alive illustrations showing the complexities of Mary's life, her loves, her sadness and her creation.

 In both film and literature, the story of famous writer creating their renowned creation has become almost a genre in itself. From Michael Cunningham's "The Hours" to the film and subsequent stage musical "Finding Neverland," there is an appetite out there for stories that show how literature's immortal came to be. In this graphic novel, Lita Judge does a fantastic job at not just showing the elements of Mary Shelley's young life that culminated in the novel "Frankenstein," but showing the complexities of how her life and experience led her to the ideas and philosphies her Doctor Frankenstein and his monster have played out for readers across the years-- and forever. will.

From her time as a neglected young girl, with a mother she never knew who would have been so proud of what she accomplishd and persevered through, Mary's life faced constant abuse. Her father, step mother, and later the poet Percy Shelley were all extremely volitale and abusive relationships through which she endured-- and managed to create. Life, in the form of her children and her writing. And this is all captured beautifully in this long form graphic novel. In beautiful black and white. 

The amount of research that went into this piece is daunting, and beyond the limits of commendable. The author's notes and bibliography at the end are worth reading in and of themselves. This is a must read for any lover of Shelley and her monster, and a brilliant piece I am sure I will often find myself returning to. Highly recommended for lovers of scary stories, and lives, art and work that goes in to creating them. 

No comments:

Post a Comment