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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hideous Love- Stephanie Hemphill

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.

I started reading Hideous Love because I knew the author used as much fact and she possibly could and I have never read a modern book written in verse before.

I was fairly disappointed. The book flap states this is an award winning novel, but I found the verse sorely lacking and reminding me much more of diary entries.

While the author captured Mary Shelley well and I felt like I did get to know the character I wish I could have seen the story from the other people’s point of view. Her half-sister Claire is very much a villain I mean really…Who sleeps with their sister’s husband? A whore that’s who. And Shelley and Lord Byron are basically just horny douche bags whose ability to write prose gets them laid as often as they want and gives them the ability to treat people like crap. In fact Shelley spends most of the novel in debt and Mary…well she acts pretty ok with that.

The best part was when she is writing about her novel. That was pretty impassioned and cool. It felt like the REAL Mary Shelley was talking from the pages.

It was difficult for me to read about all the children dying in the book, Claire and Mary both lose children and while that was hard for me I couldn’t really feel sympathy. Mary lets Shelley tell her what to do, all the traveling and bad living conditions she and her babies are subjected to is the reason three of her children die and she miscarries another. After the death of one baby you can be damn sure the next wouldn’t be left in the care of others and I wouldn’t be travelling all over introducing foreign ailments to their little immune systems.

I really wonder if Mary was as addicted to Shelley as this novel made it seem. Half the time she figured he was cheating on her and having babies with other people. The other half she was in love and worshipping the ground he walked on. I know she was very young when she hooked up with Shelley, not even 20, and that does excuse her poor life choices, we’ve all made them. However after the second baby died I would have told my husband to fuck off.

I was actually happy at the end when Shelley finally dies I was sick of how insipid Mary wrote/described him while still proclaiming how much she loved her “Shelley.”

This story also delves into the life of Claire who was Lord Byron’s sort of mistress and gives him a daughter. She is portrayed as pretty crazy and then Byron restricts her access to their child who later dies as well.

This novel was depressing! I mean I kind of knew it would be, but damn there wasn’t ANY light at the end of the tunnel. Mary Shelley wrote a famous gothic novel, but her life was a gothic romance and layered with tragedy.

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This is an award free blog, I love the thought, but I just don't have the time.