Sunday, February 10, 2013

Book #90: Frankenstein

Book #90: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
4/5 stars

After literally years of saying "I should read that..." and looking at it sitting on my shelf collecting dust, I decided to give the classic monster novel a try. Having read only one other novel by Mary Shelley beforehand, which I despised, I was a little concerned about reading her famous novel, but felt obligated to at least try it as a lover of reading and future teacher.

Frankenstein is in fact NOT the monster's name, but the last name of his creator, Victor. The creation doesn't have a name, so I'll just refer to him as the monster. The novel begins with letters from a man at sea to his sister, and the former eventually comes in contact with Victor, as he and his men save the scientist from the ice. Victor tells this sailor his story, which is the majority of the novel. It starts off with Victor's background, how he came to be interested in science and ultimately attempt to create human life. Finally, it gets to the conception of the monster, who quickly runs off when his creator is repulsed by him.

Victor is haunted by the image of his monster, and is even more distressed when his young brother turns up dead, apparently strangled. He fears that it was the monster who did it, and blames himself for it. He slowly goes insane and frightened, until he comes face-to-face with his creation. The monster tells his story to Victor about where he's been for months and what has become of him. Lonely and ashamed of himself, the monster begs Victor to make him a mate with whom he can live happily in companionship. However, Victor is not quite as keen on the idea of creating another monster, a "Bride of Frankenstein" if you will, despite his monster's threats to ruin his life and everything he loves.

I will warn you, the first third of the book was brutal for me. I pushed through it, hating Mary Shelley and her dense language. However, I figured I should finish it, and I'm glad I decided to, because once the monster became a more prominent character, the story picked up. I was intrigued by the monster, despite my confusion and disbelief when he spoke quite eloquently. Anyway, once he told his story and became directly involved in his creator's life, I was more invested in the story, and finished it pretty quickly. It was definitely worth reading, but you must be a fan of classics because it isn't an easy read. If you do like older novels though, give it a try, because despite my annoyance with Victor's character, the monster has a great story to tell, and it's interesting to see where all of the horror films and Halloween costumes stemmed from. The monster might not be as bad as Hollywood has made him out to be.

What I'm reading now...

1. Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (mystery)

2. Crossed by Ally Condie (YA dystopian)

3. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin (sci fi)

4. Shakespeare: The World As Stage by Bill Bryson (nonfiction)

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