Mary’s Monster, by Lita Judge (and Other Frankensteins We Love)

Thanks to Katelyn Wolfe, Teen Services Manager, for this great book review and further reading suggestions!

Autumn has always been my favorite season, partly because it’s the perfect time to curl up with a good spooky book. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of one of the best spooky books of all time, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In celebration of Shelley’s influential novel, there have been many retellings and modern adaptations of the stories of both the monster and its origin. The legend goes that Shelley began writing Frankenstein after being challenged by some bohemian poets to create a scary story. However, I recently discovered a beautiful new book that illustrates there is much more to the origin story of Frankenstein.

Lita Judge’s book, Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein, is a  biography written in free verse and full of stunning black-and-white watercolor illustrations. According to the story, Shelley drew inspiration for Frankenstein from tragic events in her childhood and young adult years, including being disowned by her family after running away with a married man, and the death of her newborn baby. Shelley poured her trauma, isolation, and passion into writing, and created one of the most iconic monsters of literature and popular culture.

I highly recommend Mary’s Monster to anyone interested in the origin story of Frankenstein and Mary Shelley’s life, or just looking for a good spooky read. And, check out our recommended booklist below for other Frankenstein stories available at the library in this Halloween season.


The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Kiersten White)
Cadaver & Queen (Alisa Kwitney)
This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein (Kenneth Oppel)
Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon: The Science and Enduring Allure of Mary Shelley’s Creation (editors Sidney Perkowitz, Eddy von Mueller)
Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein (Stephanie Hemphill)
Mary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein’s Creator (Catherine Reef)
The Poet and the Vampyre: The Curse of Byron and the Birth of Literature’s Greatest Monster (Andrew McConnell Stott)
Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus (Mary Shelley)
Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus (Gris Grimly)

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