Hideous Love Review

Hideous Love: The Story of the Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein - Stephanie Hemphill, Michelle Ford

This was a book that I was in fact very excited for and was on the top of my to read pile for a reason.  Frankenstein is one of my favorite books.  In fact that and Dracula are the reason I have love for the monster books, gothic style genre, and Frankenstein was the first book to truly creep me out.  However I know very little about Mary Shelley outside of the general facts that get thrown out in my English and Literature classes.  So I was all over any book about her life, fiction or nonfiction.


Hideous Love is a small book and because of that I thought it would be a great place to start.  Sadly, in the end that wasn't how felt.  It's suppose to written in Mary Shelley's point of view, but I never really felt like connected with her or even honestly got to know her.  A reason for this is how much the timeline jumps from chapter to chapter.  You never really find out the why behind certain things.  Just that they happened, that this was they way things were between Mary and other people.  I just wanted more than this book was giving me.  Even written in verse I felt like we could have gotten more information, more feeling.


About half through the book the tone of the book starts to change.  Some of that is do to tragedies in Mary Shelley's life, but most of it is the change in her relationship with her sister.  The verse starts to be nothing but the fear that Mary will lose Percy Shelly to her sister and how she cannot stand the site of the women.  It felt like a lot of whining to me that was different from the first half of the book.  Like Mary Shelley stopped being the women from the first half of the book, but we never get a reason why.  Was it the tragedies?  Did her sister do something? Did Percy?  


Then there was the ending.  We get to the biggest tragedy of Mary Shelley's life, the loss of her husband, and the book just ends.  Nothing on how Mary Shelley coped with losing the love of her life.  The man she risked everything for.  Percy Shelley was dead and the book was over, but Mary Shelley lived much longer.  She did so much more.


What this book did give me was a need to now know more about Mary Shelley's life.  About her love affair with Percy, the cruelty of her step-mother, and her journey to write one of the most talked about books.  Sadly this book gave me none of that.