To be perfectly honest, MARY'S MONSTER hung around on my TBR list for a while. I just was not that excited about reading a novel in verse about the creator of Frankenstein. I don't think I ever read the book, or even watched the movie of Frankenstein. Just not something that interested me.
BUT boy, oh boy, was I wrong! MARY'S MONSTER IS THE LIFE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Three hundred pages. And every single two-page spread includes a beautiful black and white watercolor painting.
Most people didn't believe Mary Shelley,
a teenage girl, unleashed me
a creature prowerful and murderous
enough to haunt their dreams.
The expected girls to be nice
and obey the rules
They expected girls to be silent
and swallow punishment and pain.
She was cast out from society
because she loved a married man.
her friends reviled her.
Her father banished her from his home.
But she did not hide.
She was not silenced.
She fought against the cruelty of human nature
She conceived me.
I took shape like an infant,
not in her body, but in her heart,
growing from her imagination
till I was bold enough to climb out of the page
and into your mind.
Now Mary is the ghost
whose bones have turned to dust
and it is I who live on
But hear her voice!
She wrote my story,
and now she will reach beyond the grave
and tell you her own.
And a poem from the end of the book…
A HARD BUT BEAUTIFUL EXISTENCE.
Byron has made public letters that prove
I wrote Frankenstein.
I am no longer anonymous!
I still choose a quiet life away from gossip
but I have a small circle of friends.
I edit Shelley's unpublished poems.
At last, readers see his genius
and allow the light he held up tot he world
to enter their hearts.
I survive. I keep writing.
I am scarred by my years with Shelley,
but he believed in me.
He inspired me to create.
And that gave me strength.
I have made terrible mistakes.
I must endure the knowledge that others
were swallowed by darkness because of my actions.
I have witnessed the wreckage of cruelty.
But unlike my father, I will never be consumed
by bitterness and anger.
I have released those monsters onto the page.
By creating, I keep faith alive
that we will learn someday
to cast aside cruelty and hatred
and build a just world
filled with love.
End notes include-
• More about Mary Shelley
• An Author's note- Lita Judge talks about her process, how she structured the novel, what she chose to include, etc. I wish more novels in verse included this. I think it would help people appreciate them as poetry.
• What Became of Them- Paragraph biographies about people included in the book,
• What Were They Reading
This is definitely worth reading. The content is pretty mature, but if I was a high school teacher, I'd be buying it for my classroom library!
Sylvia Vardell is hosting the year's first Poetry Friday Roundup. Hop over there to see what books next year's CYBILS judges might be reading.