Mary’s Monsters

A writer reviews a book based on FRANKENSTEIN.


Macmillan Publisher

Illustration are added throughout the book to enhance the story.

Frankenstein (now adapted into many plays, movies, and shows) is undeniably one of the most famous books ever written. What many people don’t know though, is the book itself was written in the early 18th century by a teenage runaway, Mary Shelley. In the lyric novel Mary’s Monster; Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created FRANKENSTEIN, author Lita Judge tells this young lady’s story and how the masterpiece that is Frankenstein was born through her hardships and struggles. The book is a perfect balance of the verse of poetry and the story line of prose. This is combined with beautiful illustrations to tell her story in a unique and engaging way that any reader could enjoy. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a sad, but wonderful story filled with emotion and meaning that extends beyond the page. 

Lyric novels can do things that ‘novel’ novels really can’t.” The mix of poetry and prose make for an amazing read, but they weren’t the only aspects of the book that I loved.”

— Cal Vande Hoef

The first reason that I would recommend this book is because it is a perfect balance of poetry and prose, making it nearly impossible to put down. The prose aspect of it puts the reader into the shoes of Mary Shelley, as she endures all of the struggles that life throws at her, from beginning to end. The poetry portions help get the point across that when she wrote Frankenstein, she was writing about her own hardships. The monster that she created mimicked her life in many ways. An example of this would be where Mary states, “I keep writing until the pen scratches pain as loud as screams. But it is no longer my own voice I hear. It is the creatures.” Each page is filled with metaphors like these which add new meaning, making it go much further than if it were only prose. High school english teacher, Cal VandeHoef, agreed stating, “Lyric novels can do things that ‘novel’ novels really can’t.” The mix of poetry and prose make for an amazing read, but they weren’t the only aspects of the book that I loved.”

All of the poems were accompanied by drawings. Each piece of artwork embellishes the pages and helps get the tone across. These extra elements kept me glued to the page, waiting to see the stories, truths, and horrors that might be next. These drawings were the final touch to an already wonderful book. They made it feel complete and relatable in a way that not all books are.

As a high school student, I can sympathize with the fact that not  many people enjoy history and, because of this, most young readers probably wouldn’t be interested in reading about Mary. But, by writing it in first person, Lita Judge made the story absolutely riveting. This was furthered by the verse in which the book was written. While each page is filled with metaphors, the words were portrayed in a way that is not difficult to understand or get the true meaning of, and added emotion to what could have simply been a non-fiction biography. 

All in all, Mary’s Monster is a beautifully written book that I think everyone should read whether they like poetry or not. Though this book is a quick, easy read, it still has a bunch of elements to keep the reader interested no matter their experience with lyric novels. These elements include the balance of poetry and prose, the detailed drawings on every page, and the unrivaled way Lita Judge has of telling Mary Shelley’s story. I really enjoyed reading this book and will definitely be looking for more similar to it in the future. My only worry is that none will compare to the masterpiece that is Mary’s Monster.