Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

News & Features » October 2017 » “Baby Frankenstein” by Maria DePaul

“Baby Frankenstein” by Maria DePaul

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, a mother and her son bond over Frankenstein and his monster.

Baby Frankenstein: When a Movie Gives Life to a Love of Reading
by Maria DePaul
Ten year old

“When I grow up, I want to be Frankenstein,” a ten-year-old boy told his mother one night at bedtime.

“Why?” she asked.

“He gets to do all sorts of cool stuff, like dig in grave yards, bring the dead back to life, travel all over the world and create monsters. Then he gets to die famous.”

“But he dies tragically,” the mother replied. “So does the monster. Almost everybody does.”

“So what?” the boy asked. “Everybody dies, but they have to do boring stuff. He gets to have fun.”

The movie glamorized the scientist and his monster, making the story fresher and more exciting than the epistolary novel, which seemed like an assignment.

“Maybe I should have made you read the book first,” she said.

“Aren’t those things in the book, too?” the boy asked.

“Yeah, they are,” the mother replied. “And other things, like cutting up bodies and sewing them back together, and a sea voyage to the North Pole, where almost everybody dies.”

“Cool,” the boy said.

“You know what? I watched the movie before I read the book, too,” the mother admitted. “There are lots of books that I read after seeing the movie.”

How many kids discovered reading that way? The mother gave her son a child’s version of Frankenstein, and he dove into it. The formula worked for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and other science fiction and horror classics, too. Movie nights became a fun way to bridge that gap.


MARIA DEPAUL is a writer based in Washington, DC, whose work has been featured in Haiku Journal, Nature Writing, Poetry Quarterly, The Review Review, Three Line Poetry, Violet Windows, Wax Poetry and Art, and “Nine Lives: A Life in 10 Minutes Anthology.” Look for her work in upcoming issues of Aphelion, Illumen, Plum Tree Tavern, Scifaikuest, and Speculative 66.


Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.


Posted: Oct 10, 2017

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,