Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hideous Love (2013)

Hideous Love: The Story of The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein. Stephanie Hemphill. 2013. HarperCollins. 320 pages. [Source: Library]

I am familiar with the story of Mary Shelley. I am probably more familiar than the target audience would be of Mary Shelley, her sister, Claire, her lover-husband, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, etc. I took a whole semester focusing primarily on these Romantic authors. (Claire was an extra bonus. You can't cover the lives of Mary, Percy, without mentioning Claire and her lovechild.) I was curious how the story would be presented. I am not usually a big fan of verse novels. I think some work really, really, really well. And I think others are absolutely awful. This falls into the "why is this a verse novel?" category. I think the story could have been told just as well, if not better, in prose format, in journal format in particular. We do know that Mary Shelley kept a journal, of sorts.

That being said, I do think the book did a fairly good job at capturing the ANGST that is Mary Shelley's private life. Her life was a BIG, BIG MESS. Oh, what she had to put up with! Oh, what she had to endure! Oh, the consequences of leaping into love without being ready for it! As a teenager, she runs away from home with a married man, a poet or would-be poet. She takes her sister. Because she took her sister, well, her STEP sister, with her, she'll be stuck with the sister for what seems like forever. With her husband's notion of free-love this and free-love-that, the LAST thing Mary needs is another woman in their lives who is constantly there and wanting/needing attention. Mary also suffered so very many losses. So many of her children died, died in their infancy or toddler years. And some of that was just the times they lived, and some of that was due to her husband's stupidity and stubbornness. Anyway, it is an emotionally demanding story. Far from boring. Because her husband was a poet, because she spent so much time with poets, it would be nice if this format of verse novel worked in telling her own story. However, I did not feel the verse format was one of the book's strengths. If the book works, which I think it does in a way, it is because of the emotion behind the words, not the words themselves. The writing didn't seem especially lyrical or lovely or poetic.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kailana 3:59 PM  

hm. I should maybe read FRANKENSTEIN first. It is on the list to finally get to this year!

Suko 4:07 PM  

Becky, it sounds as if Mary's life was brewing with turmoil. (Did this lead to the creation of Frankenstein?) It does sound as if it would work better in prose or journal form.

Becky 5:19 PM  

Kailana, you should definitely read Frankenstein. It's one of my favorite, favorite books!

Suko, I definitely think prose would have worked better!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP