Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein is a classic horror novel written by Mary Shelley.

Book Description
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the masterpieces of nineteenth-century Gothicism. While stay-ing in the Swiss Alps in 1816 with her lover Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and others, Mary, then eighteen, began to concoct the story of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the monster he brings to life by electricity. Written in a time of great personal tragedy, it is a subversive and morbid story warning against the dehumanization of art and the corrupting influence of science. Packed with allusions and literary references, it is also one of the best thrillers ever written. Frankenstein; Or, the Modern Prometheus was an instant bestseller on publication in 1818. The prototype of the science fiction novel, it has spawned countless imitations and adaptations but retains its original power.

Frankenstein was a surprising read for me. I've never particularly expected to like Frankenstein, but it has always been on the list of books I've intended read. I decided it would make a great pick for the Dusty Volumes challenge.

As it turns out, I really enjoyed Frankenstein. I see why the image of Frankenstein's monster is so widely used in relation to "mad science". Victor Frankenstein concocted a huge man out of various human (and who knows what else's) body parts. This concoction truly was a monster, but I felt such pity for him. Pity for his hideousness, pity for his being unwanted by his creator, pity for his need of companionship.

In the beginning of Frankenstein, I found lines like "No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to me - my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only." to be very creepy and foreboding. I also enjoyed Victor Frankenstein's disturbing obsession, but I didn't fall in love with the story until after Frankenstein created and abandoned his monster.

Frankenstein wound up as a suspenseful and satisfying read. If you enjoy reading classics and you haven't read Frankenstein, now is a great time to change that. If you are a fan of the horror genre, Frankenstein is pretty much a must read. I'm thankful to have finally read it!

7/10: Recommended Read

I downloaded Frankenstein for free from Project Gutenberg.

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12 comments:

  1. I file this under, "A book I'd love to say I've read, but probably never will!" lol!!

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  2. Started it & couldn't finish. I was trying to find a piece to use with the Industrial Revolution. If I ever switch to being an English teacher, I think it might be a good classic literature link for a unit on zombies.

    Amy @ www.bookgoonie.com

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  3. A classic I've yet to read, but must remedy!

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  4. Frankenstein is a good story, but I found the writing to be sluggish and heavy-handed. I read it because I wanted to read it, but was bored silly for much of the prose :(

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  5. I really wanted to like this, and parts of it I did. But half of the story was Victor Frankenstein rambling about his exotic travels. The parts with the monster seemed weak and anticlimactic.

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  6. How ironic that I checked your blog today. I really liked Frankenstein too, but I thought I would like it more than I did. Some parts were a bit too philosophical for me, but I also found it fascinating and filled with this underlying dread.

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  7. I love seeing reviews of the classics. We sometimes get so caught up with new releases, that forget to come back to stuff that's been around the block for years!

    Now, on Frankenstein. I've not read it yet. I did read Dracula, which if I remember correctly was born from the same bet, and did read Whutering Heights, which is another gothic must-read... And somehow, Frankenstein always got pushed to the second row! I do want to read it, though, because I love the contrast between today's gothic lit and early gothic - it has changed so much!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ron @ Stories of my life

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  8. Thanks for the great comments guys!

    Ashley - LOL. I know what you mean, girl.

    Amy - I never had an English teacher as cool as you. ;) A zombie unit would have rocked pretty hard.

    Lee - Yes, you must remedy. (Just read your neeeew stoooory last night! Will drop some reviews around the block this week.) :D

    JEM - It was definitely the story that won me.

    Lisa - That it is. :)

    Sothis Dhampir - Perhaps that's what allowed me to have a lot of sympathy for the monster.

    .alana. - No, it's actually only 273 pages. Even with the prose I found it to be a pretty quick read.

    Midnyte - It really was dreadful. ( < That didn't come out right.) There was a lot of death in Frankenstein. I may have been at an advantage expecting *not* to like it.

    Thanks, Ron. I loved Dracula. I went into Dracula expecting the writing to be difficult and was pleasantly surprised to find the writing to be easy to read and the atmosphere to be genuinely eerie. Unfortunately I can't say the same about Shelley's writing. At times it was as difficult to read as what I *expected* Dracula to be, but either the writing eased up toward the end, I got comfortable with the writing, or how much I was enjoying the story affected the writing because by the end it seemed a lot easier to read. I think you will enjoy it.

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  9. I've never read Frankenstein and I've never really felt inclined to do so until recently. I always start to feel bad as a reader when people reference books in other literature or tv and I don't understand what they mean. I decided that I needed to read it and then this helpful review makes me actually look forward to reading it.

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  10. One day I'd like to read this one. An occasional horror novel is so much better than a horror movie. My imagination is much more scary, LOL!

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