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August 17, 2015

Review: Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by Stephanie Hemphill

Title: Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein
Author: Stephanie Hemphill
Published: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
Hardcover, 320 pgs

Good Reads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Hideous Love is the fascinating story of Gothic novelist Mary Shelley, who as a teen girl fled her restrictive home only to find herself in the shadow of a brilliant but moody boyfriend, famed poet Percy Shelley. It is the story of the mastermind behind one of the most iconic figures in all of literature: a monster constructed out of dead bodies and brought to life by the tragic Dr. Frankenstein. Mary wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, but inspiration for the monster came from her life-the atmospheric European settings she visited, the dramas swirling around her, and the stimulating philosophical discussions with the greatest minds of the period, like her close friend, Lord Byron. This luminous verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill reveals how Mary Shelley became one of the most celebrated authors in history. 

This book is beautiful.

It's really ironic since it has such a "horrible-sounding" title. But I found myself so drawn to the hardships and anguish of Mary Shelley's life that I can find little words to describe it other than beautiful.

The entire novel is written in the form of poetry, which actually makes it a pretty quick read. Each poem pushes the narrative forward in a way that is succint and yet carries an intense amount of emotion behind it (as good poetry should). Mary's life is bitter from the very beginning -- as it is giving birth to her that kills her mother. Mary has a strict father, an even worse stepmother, and runs away at a young age to be with a man who adores her complete...but for how long? After all, Shelley left his own wife to be with Mary.

Throughout miscarriages, some of her children dying, doubting her husband's fidelity, a father who disowns her, it's no wonder that Mary pens the historically signficant, Frankenstein. She has created a hideous monster who is patched together with spare parts -- much like her life has become one hideuus monster -- with times that she adores and times she is overcome by grief. Her life becomes something she can no longer control and yet must endure for the sake of her husband and her children.

This is an incredible novel. Pick it up, it'll read real fast, and you won't regret it.

5 out of 5 stars!

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