Book Review: Monster, She Wrote

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“Horror and speculative fiction wouldn’t exist without the women who created it. From forgotten visionaries like Margaret “Mad Madge” Cavendish, to literary icons like Mary Shelley and Shirley Jackson, to modern-era marvels such as Anne Rice and Helen Oyeyemi, women authors have always been at the vanguard of frightening fiction. And their life stories are as intriguing as the novels, short stories, and novellas they crafted. Part biography, part reader’s guide, Monster, She Wrote will introduce you to the more than a hundred authors and over two hundred of their mysterious and spine-tingling tales. Frankenstein was just the beginning…meet evermore terrifying monsters and the women who unleaded them.”

-Synopsis from the back of the book


I came across this book by pure happenstance and as soon as I saw the title, I knew I had to read it. Anyone interested in the horror or speculative fiction genres, or wanting to learn more about it: this is the book for you!

“Why are women great at writing horror fiction? Maybe because horror is a transgressive genre. It pushes readers to uncomfortable places, where we aren’t used to treading, and it forces us to confront what we naturally want to avoid…horror has been penned by men and women alike, but it’s important to acknowledge that women have been contributing to the genre since its inception.”

Monster, She Wrote

Monster, She Wrote is divided into eight sections…

The Founding Mothers
Haunting Tales
Cult of the Occult
The Women Who Wrote the Pulps
Haunting the Home
Paperback Horror
The New Goths
The Future of Horror and Speculative Fiction

…and each covers a handful of authors and includes a short biography, relevant facts and lists of their most recognized works. There is also a glossary at the end of the book that breaks down just what falls into the horror genre category, along with a suggested reading section.

I love books about books, but especially those that are tributes to women writers in all ways, shapes and forms. Monster, She Wrote is a great introduction to the horror genre and the women who have and continue to contribute to it.

I read this book with my notebook nearby so I could write down all the recommended titles that sound interesting to me. I hope I get the chance to read most of these someday. I highly recommend this book, even if just for a seasonal, fun read!


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