Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Book Details
TITLE – Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
AUTHOR – Mary Shelley
YEAR PUBLISHED – 1818
PAGE COUNT – 269
MY RATING – 3.5 of 5
RATED ON GOODREADS – 3.81 of 5
Monsters are amongst my favorite fantasy creatures. Plus I love reading classics. So how it is possible that I’ve never read Frankenstein before – I don’t know. I honestly don’t get it.
And I’ve never even seen a proper adaptation before. Only short pieces in which a crazy scientist manages to bring a monster to life. The scientist had a vibe of an 18th century version of Sheldon Cooper on crack. And the monster looked and sounded a lot like Lurch.
That was literally all I knew about this incredibly innovative, imaginative and immersive classic. In fact, Frankenstein is frequently referred to as the world’s first science fiction novel.
Apparently, when she was 18, Mary, her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, their friend Lord Byron and a few other people were traveling Europe. On a boring rainy day, the group decided to pass the time by competing in who can write the creepiest ghost story.
Mary based her story on a nightmare that occurred to her after hearing her husband and Lord Byron talking about the possibility of reanimation and bringing the dead back to life. In the dream, she saw a man creating a horrific creature and regretting it instantly.
So, this year I was preparing my October TBR, and I just couldn’t pass up this cult work of fiction. It was time already. I had to know more about this man whose desire to create life led him past the laws of life, nature and even humanity. And about the thing he managed to create…
What It Is About
Victor Frankenstein is an ambitious, enthusiastic, brilliant young scientist obsessed with uncovering the secrets of life and death. Determined to accomplish what no man had ever done before, he manages to give life to a creature he has created himself using parts of dead bodies.
However, faced with the result of his experiment, he instantly regrets what he’s done. The monster looks so grotesque and unnatural – even his creator doesn’t want to have anything to do with it.
But, no matter how repelling, the monster has many human characteristics. Including the need for love, friendship and belonging. As well as the impulse to punish rejection with anger and violence…
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – My Review
If you want to get incredibly confused, indecisive about whose side you are on, ultimately realizing you do not have anything to compare this story with to be able judge the characters correctly – then this book is exactly for you!
Frankenstein was not at all what I expected. It was much less a fantasy and creating a monster and much more a story about making an irrevocable mistake, learning to live with the guilt and trying to fix what can be fixed.
I loved how strong and resonating the moral of the story was. The consequences were brutal. Frankenstein definitely forces you to think about what exactly can happen if a man decides to play God and work against nature.
At first, I didn’t like how perfect the Frankenstein family was portrayed. But the more I read, the more I appreciated the contrast between their kindness and innocence and the terror of the Victor’s creation.
Amongst other things I liked was the writing style. Not the most accessible book I’ve ever read, you can definitely feel it was written in another century. But it is beautiful and it almost feels like poetry at times, which creates a perfect balance to the horrifying events described.
And of course what I liked the most was the story itself. So original. So imaginative. So trilling. Unlike anything I’ve ever read.
However, I felt like the main story – the story about a man who, in an attempt to create life, created a monster – wasn’t given enough space. The book is not very long, and a lot of it goes on descriptions of nature, Frankenstein’s relationship with his family and his inner monologues.
I expected a bit more about how he created a monster and how they both dealt with that instead of endless regret monologues.
I also thought Frankenstein was much older – at least in his 40s – when he created the monster. Sure, even so young, he was obsessed with science and have performed a number of experiments already.
But still, a nineteen-twenty year old guy to more or less stumble upon the secret of life… I don’t know. I wasn’t really thrilled with that.
Plus, I assumed Frankenstein had a better, more direct and specific motive for creating the monster than – I really really wanted to know.
Conclusion – the story of Frankenstein and his monster became one of my favorite stories ever. The execution – could have been better.
But even so, it was a great pleasure to finally dive into the origins of a creature we all have heard of, that became an inspiration for so many movies, art, other stories and characters. And Halloween costumes :-).