Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

* This Review is Spoiler Free*

Book Review-Frankenstein

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Until reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley I hailed myself as quite the non-lover of all classics. I figured I would never find one that I genuinely enjoyed and would re-read. Yes, I’ve come across a couple that I didn’t detest and some that I even liked. But, I never ever ever would have thought that I could like a classic as much as I do this one. Granted this novel and I had some love-hate moments where I wished that I could jump into the novel and beat some sense into a particular character, and it’s also been about two years since I initially read it, but I can say in all confidence that after reading it, I did thoroughly enjoy it. This gothic horror novel follows student Victor Frankenstein and his obsession with creating life. After finally succeeding in reanimating life into a body that he constructed from body parts, Frankenstein is repulsed by the monster that he created and banishes the monster from his presence. Frankenstein’s monster goes on a rampage in an attempt to get back at his ‘creator’.

There are a few downfalls to this novel, one of the biggest being the pacing and the other is the title character, Frankenstein (the dude bordered on insufferable at times). I found myself reading through certain portions while uncontrollably rolling my eyes, grunting and mumbling “I DON’T CARE!” numerous times.Β  I remember reading the synopsis shortly before I began reading it and seeing that there was a romance within the novel. To this day, I still have not figured out what romance there is in that story (another minor irritation). Now, don’t get the wrong idea….there are quite a few things wrong with the story, but there are just as many (and more) good things in the story but, I feel that you do have to have patience in order to unearth those good qualities.

Okay, confession time…I am one of the ignorant unicorns that did not realize that Frankenstein was in fact *NOT* the name of the monster. I know, I know…who doesn’t know that at this point, but between all the Halloween costumes of green men with plugs in the sides of their heads and a plethora of horrible movies/shows that call the monster Frankenstein, how was this naive unicorn to know! Well, fast-forward to when I actually read the book, and I absolutely adored the monster. Frankenstein’s monster made the entire book. Mary Shelley did a great job of posing a lot of questions about humanity, what it means to be human, to be a member of society, where/how it is that we find self-worth and purpose,Β  how/why do we evolve as humans, and what is self-preservation are just a few of the questions and ideals that I found myself pondering throughout my reading experience.

I am due for a re-read of this novel, and after that there may be more to add to this review as I have a feeling that with each re-read I will grasp new things that I didn’t see before. Frankenstein is a complex, intricate and well thought out novel and if not for my issues with pacing and the character Frankenstein, this book would have a much higher rating. If only the book was just about Frankenstein’s monster, than this book would be getting higher than the 7-out-of-10 unicorn horns that I am awarding it.

 

 

 

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19 Comments

  1. I really liked this book, it was pretty amazing. I’ve had her other book, the last man, on my list of books to read for forever so I do hope that it will be as good, but this sets the bar pretty high so it’s hard to say. Have you read that one?

    • Well, I’m actually pretty excited that you enjoyed it too. I haven’t talked/typed to many people about Frankenstein, or any of her other books, so this is neat. I have been wanting to read The Last Man ever since I read this. But, kind of like you said, I’ve just been really scared that I would be disappointed. I have also been wanting to look at one of her collections of shorter stories. I’m not a big fan of short stories/novellas, so I haven’t checked any of those out for that reason. I think that the first I may check out is, Transformation, because it’s the one I found first.

      • Cool. I haven’t tried any of her other work yet, but if she has short stories then I might try that first too. I actually love short stories, in part because they are easy to get through but also because I’ve read some really great short works that made an impact on me early on (Ray Bradbury’s “the Fog Horn” comes to mind, and was actually the 8th post I did on my blog back in June 2012… Woah, time flies!). I also read a lot of Stephen King and he’s got lots of books of short stories. Different Seasons is probably one of his best (it’s got 4 stories in it and Shawshank, Apt Pupil, and the Body were all made into great movies). Gah! Sorry, I get a bit crazy in my love of shorts! If you do read more of Shelley I’d love to hear about it. πŸ™‚

      • I am beyond apprehensive about reading short story collections. I haven’t read many at all, so I don’t even know where I built up the opinion that I don’t like them! I have been wanting to try some and on your recommendation I’m going to check out “The Fog Horn” in the future. I really enjoyed “Fahrenheit 451”, and maybe it will be a wise choice to start with an author I already enjoy. So, I’m going to add that to my list of short story collections I want to read whenever I’m finally brave enough to do so. I’m saddened to admit this…but, I still haven’t read any Stephen King *audible gasp* …I do intend to remedy that very soon. I want to read one of his novels first but I will add “Different Seasons” to be TBR pile. What would you recommend for my first Stephen King read?

      • Yay for adding the Fog Horn to your list! I really liked Fahrenheit 451 too. πŸ™‚ I understand your apprehension, I actually felt that way about fantasy (the straight up elves and wizards kind) and avoided it for the longest time simply because I didn’t think I’d like it. Then I had to read the Hobbit and now some of my favorite authors are fantasy writers, lol, go figure. πŸ™‚
        *gasp* No Stephen King! lol, s’ok. πŸ™‚ I’d love to recommend a first Stephen King, but then the pressure is on to make sure it’s a good one! I think my top three are It (also the first one I ever read so I may be a tad sentimental here), the Stand and the Gunslinger series. Ha ha…apparently I can’t recommend just one! I hope you like whichever one you choose!

      • Lol….there is absolutely nothing wrong with not being able to recommend just one Stephen King book. I can’t remember ever hearing about The Stand, so I’m going to have to look into that book. I know about the premise of It and I’ve come across the Gunslinger series before too. So, hopefully I make a decision soon and get to reading some Stephen King.

  2. I was pleasantly surprised by how much enjoyed this book too, precisely because of the creature. I was more familiar with him from the movies, so him being articulate and intelligent had never even occurred to me until I read the novel. The scene where he confronts Frankenstein about creating him and abandoning him breaks my heart, but it’s also one of my absolute favorites in all literature.

  3. I’m glad to find a bunch of fellow-Frankenstein-lovers! I also enjoyed the book much more than I thought I would (although I also found Frankenstein insufferable at times!). I haven’t read this book in a while and may need to revisit it soon. Generally reading a “classic” can be so daunting because we have so many preconceived notions and expectations of what to expect, so it’s nice to be surprised and find that a book has actually lived up to its reputation.

    Completely unrelated, but I LOVE short story collections! I would highly recommend that you give them another chance. You might be pleasantly surprised (I hope!) πŸ™‚

  4. As far as having to read classics at school, college and university goes, this is definitely one of the far better ones. Maybe because it’s not bogged down with too much social realism and the like that makes reading Dickens an absolute chore, maybe it’s because I can genuinely sympathise with the creature.

    As far as short story collections go, maybe you’ll like The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic and The Mammoth Book of Warriors and Wizardry? Both have about 15 short fantasy stories from various authors, many well-known and many of very high standards. Maybe it’s me, but it seems to be harder to find short fantasy collections than sci-fi ones and I’ve always preferred fantasy.

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