Sunday, April 24, 2011

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

genre: adult fiction

Can you believe I had never read this classic until now? I saw an awesome copy of it at the Five Below (random, eh?), it's a DK unabridged version that has all kinds of historical and cultural information in it, which really rounded out my reading experience.

SO. Now I have all kinds of misconceptions sorted out. First off, I thought Frankenstein was the CREATURE, but he's the CREATOR of the creature. Somehow in my mind, if you dressed up as Frankenstein for Halloween then you were that guy who walked funny with stitches on your forehead, but no no. That's just the monster whose name we never even learn. Victor Frankenstein is a promising scientist from Geneva who figures out how to use electricity and "parts" to create a living being who can think and interact with the world.

That's when things go sorta...bad.

I mean, really bad.

It's a horror novel, to be sure, but I think it's a lot more than that. It feels like a character study, too, and the novel is set up in such an intriguing way - as a story within a story. And we even get another story within that one! We watch Frankenstein and his creature deal with the consequences of his creation, and the creature does actually become sympathetic, it's incredibly intriguing how my feelings swayed back and forth about him. Sometimes he was terrifying and sometimes I feel real pity. I loved the way that my edition of the book put this story within the context of Mary Shelley's time, about what was changing in the philosophies of men and how they viewed nature, which is a big part of the book.

I really liked it, it was surprisingly engaging. I did NOT like all the foreshadowing (I like surprises in my books and overt foreshadowing gives too much away and spoils the action of the story, in my opinion) and sometimes poor Victor does just go ON and ON about his guilt over creating such a monster. I'm going to chalk that up to me not understanding how you talked about things in 1818. For such an old story, it really gave me a lot to ponder about.


bermudaonion said...

I haven't read the book, but did know that Frankenstein was the scientist. I think my son might have a copy of this somewhere.

Julie @ Read Handed said...

This is a good book. I read it in college and wrote a paper about it arguing against the whole "the creature is naturally nice but people being mean to him made him mean" theory. The whole nature vs. nurture debate is huge in this novel. I love the classics because of how many interesting philosophical issues and themes they bring up.

Sarah Pennington said...

I read this book for an English class that I am taking and I absolutly loved it! I was more intrigued with Mary Shelleys personal life than anything else! I loved the way that her personal life connected to the book. The themes of guilt, lonliness, and abandonment hit home for me! I admire Mary's work, and to think, she was only 18 when she wrote Frankenstien! Amamzing!!

Deb said...

yes! i loved this book and i loved how sympathetic and yet horrifying the monster was. i remember thinking, "yeah, yeah, it's a classic." until i read it and discovered why.

(and my magic verification word is PRESTON! :)

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