The personal monsters in Christie Shinn’s compendium fall into two categories. There are emotional monsters, like the Depressus and the Inner Critic, who bring you down from the inside. Then, there are human monsters, like the Spider Queen, or the Two-Faced Bitch, who harangue and antagonize you from the world at large. Personally, I found the first category more identifiable, but no matter who you are, there’s likely at least a couple of monsters in here that you’ve had to face in your own life.
Each page has a drawing of one of the monsters, plus a brief description of what they do. The Spider Queen, for example, lures young men into her web with sweet talk, before devouring their flesh. The Professional Mourner, meanwhile, stews in her own misfortune, loudly and publicly lamenting the constant problems in her life.
The drawings are unique and colorful, and Shinn’s artistic style is a lot of fun in a gloomy, morbid sort of way. The descriptions don’t quite have the same punch as the drawings. They’re a little vague sometimes, making it difficult to know exactly what some of these monsters do, if you haven’t encountered them yourself. Also, several of them give the distinct impression of talking about someone behind their back.
Nonetheless, this is a fun book that a lot of people will probably relate to. It can be a reminder of the different types of negativity that can creep into your life, and how important it is to avoid them if at all possible. If that sounds like something you could use a fully illustrated reminder of from time to time, then Personal Monsters is for you.