Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

From Goodreads:  Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

My Thoughts:  I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book.  I have seen Frankenstein's monster portrayed on television and in movies but I had no real understanding of what the book would actually be about.  For the first few pages, I was a little bit confused and checked to make sure I had downloaded the right book.  I kept thinking 'Where's the monster?!'

 The story is told in letters from Walton, a sailor, to his sister.  Walton encounters Dr. Frankenstein as he traveling through the arctic and Dr. Frankenstein reveals his story to Walton.  The story is not so much scary or creepy as it is kind of tragic.  It's also a kind of 'be careful what you wish for'.  Dr. Frankenstein loves science but winds up creating something that terrifies him.  His 'monster' didn't start out as an evil creature but became that way after being shunned by his maker and those he tried to befriend.  He only becomes evil because he wants someone to love that will love him back.  It kind of made me think about whether or not people are inherently evil or if they become that way because of life's circumstances.

I was really surprised that this book was written in 1818.  It was interesting to think that Mary Shelley envisioned someone gaining enough scientific knowledge and skill to build a living, breathing, rational creature.  That's pretty high tech for back then! 

Overall, I am really glad I read this book.  It was a little slow to start but after a little bit, it moved pretty well.  3 stars.

I read this book as part of the Classics bribe.  Check it out here! 

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