It’s that time of the year to really submerse yourself into a dark and stormy, eerie and macabre, or weird and wonderful book. It’s the darkest time of the year, where the horror of it all is most welcome. In the new non-fiction Monster, She Wrote, you’ll learn of the women who helped build those haunted houses and Gothic castles literature buffs fear so well. Discover the authors that spun ghosts and orchestrated psychological terror and everything in between while additionally learning who they were as people. Ranging from the founding mothers to the new gen, horror fans will find a kindred spirit hidden within these green covers.
The formatting of this 300 page tome was similar to that of a handbook. Each author was introduced, a brief biography was given, and their environment/time period was discussed alongside. The authors’ works were analyzed and then recommendations of further reading/viewing were suggested. This type of experience gave me a sense of actual learning and not just glazing over strenuous chapters and maybe remembering a few dates or names. All the women they chose to highlight were given ample word counts with meaningful information. In some ways, the book is a test for the reader to determine what time period has most of their favorite authors. I discovered that I’m a huge fan of the 18th century horror writers.
Praise must also be given to illustrator Natalya Balnova’s incredible work on both the cover and throughout the text. Her drawings aided in connecting the stories and added flair to the “accessory” pages of fun facts and pull quotes.
Monster, She Wrote is filled with levity and personality. The wry humor and puns made the journey that much more worth it. No stuffy textbook-style paragraphs here. It was intelligently written, as the amount of research put into telling other women’s stories was apparent from the start. I learned so much about authors I knew of and was introduced to women that I didn’t know existed but I inadvertently loved their work or others they inspired. The concluding chapter on the future of women in horror fiction was simply inspiring and I reread it a few times just to let it sink in. It’s overlooked how much of an impact female authors had on this genre, and continue to have. It’s books and hard research like this that shine light that has been denied by many for so long. We no longer need posthumous awards for those undiscovered; discover them now and read them now. We no longer need to suggest that women authors use a pen name for the sake of sales or audience appeal. It’s 2019, let’s get with the program. This was one of my favorite reads of 2019 and it’s my firm belief that any reader would be better for picking it up.
Monster, She Wrote is available from the wonderful team at Quirk Books and everywhere books are sold.