Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wells, Catherine Strange Creatures: The Story of Mary Shelley.

Wells, Catherine Strange Creatures: The Story of Mary Shelley.
Morgan Reynolds 2009 160p 28.95 978-1-59935-092-9 ms/hs
World Writers (Morgan)##7

The mercurial life of Mary Shelley including her childhood, her progressive marriage for the age, and her literary companions form a well-rounded picture of her as a person, as a writer, and as a family member. Strongly recommended for grades 6-12. Mary Shelley was best known for writing Frankenstein. The setting for the novel as well as the genesis of the idea behind the plot are revealed within the framework of her entire life. She went beyond the common story and plot related to ghosts and superhuman figures to create a novel that questioned man’s advances in science and what it is to be human. Her literary parents, her marriage to poet, Percy Shelley and her close friendship with Byron all seem to point to a person of brilliance. However, her life was tortured by a distant relationship with her father, the birth and death of three of her children, and her inability to really make close female friendships. She suffered bouts of writers block as well as depression throughout her life and its turbulent personal relationships. While respected by some, she was reviled by many as she ignored common mores of the times and spoke her mind on political and social issues. Illustrated with paintings and photos of places and people involved in her life, this book is a visual delight. A time line, index, further reading and source notes make this an excellent place to begin to understand the mind and times of Shelley. Strongly recommended for grades 6-12. An error appears on page 142, second paragraph -- the word her is spelled “he r”. LMN Shelley, Mary

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