Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a re-read for me. I first read this book several years ago and it became one of my top ten favorites. The number one reason (I have several reasons) I love this book, is that it was a shock at how different it was than the movies I'd seen "loosely based" on this book. Not only in the "creations" appearance, but his intelligence as well. In the movie adaptions he usually has a square head with buttons on the side of his neck, he wears chunky black boots, walks like a robot, and makes mono-syllable unintelligible sounds.

My favorite adaption of Frankenstein is Gene Wilder's Young Frankenstein.


From 1931, which frightened my mother (back in the day). Frankenstein with Colin Clive as the mad doctor.


The story on how and where Mary Shelley came to write Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus is almost as interesting as the story itself. A young Mary Wollstencraft Godwin and her lover and later husband Percy Byshhe Shelley, were living with Lord Byron near Lake Geneva, Switzerland. While there they'd told each other occult-ghost-type stories. They decided to have a contest as to who could write the most frightening story. Mary's story was the only one finished and thus published. Her story was first published anonymously in 1818, the second edition was published 1823 and her name was added as author.

Victor Frankenstein is an introverted, socially awkward, brilliant, scientific, passionate young man. His mother died of Scarlet fever after caring for the adopted daughter Elizabeth (who'd also been sick). Victor has younger brothers. His father is a loving man and is devoted to his family. Victor's best friend is Henry Clerval. They live in Geneva, Switzerland. Victor goes away to college and while there begins his electricity experiment in creating a life.
"More, for more will I achieve: treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown power, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation." Page 42.
After Victor achieves this great "creation". He is appalled, horrified, repulsed. He had in passion and obsession created this "creation" and now was sickened by "it." The "creation" looks upon Victor as a surrogate-type-father. Victor flees from "it". The "creation" follows him, and like a wrecking ball destroys.

To say this is a dramatic story would be an understatement.
On the exterior it is a Gothic thriller that was weaved to tantalize and entertain its reader. During my second time of reading this story I picked out a few gems to point out.
  • Victor Frankenstein created this "creation" with all the vigorous work of an expectant parent, then when he sees this "creation" he despises "it".
  • Several words describe Frankenstein's offspring: "it", "his", "miserable wretch", "monster", "demoniacal corpse", "daemon", "created". None of these descriptions are pleasant. 
  • During the course of the experiment and creation Frankenstein states several times his praise and glorification in himself for his "creation".
  • This "creation" learns to speak and read, learns world history, world religion and philosophy, human growth and development.
  • Victor Frankenstein is the poster boy for the Bible verse "sow what you reap."
My paperback copy is from Mary Shelley's revised edition of 1831. Barnes and Nobles Classics published this book in 2003. Included in the book are endnotes (which I read), Inspired by Frankenstein (those adaptions based on this story), comments/letters from Mary and Percy about the story (one from each). If you've never read Frankenstein read the introduction last. 256 pages.
The Classics Club/Classic Literature/Top Ten Favorite Classic Fiction Books/Gothic Thriller/Fright Fall Read-a-Thon Reading Challenge October 2012/Gothic Reading Challenge October 2012.

Link @ Barnes and Nobles:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/frankenstein-mary-wollstonecraft-shelley/1100026888?ean=9781593081157
Paperback $5.35
Nook $3.99

Frankenstein was read for two book challenges!
Gothic Reading Challenge for October 2012 Hosted by O @ Delaisse.



This book completed my reading for this challenge.

Comments

  1. Frankenstein is one of my favorite books to reread!!!

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  2. It is on my list of TBR...You make it hard to wait, it sounds really great! I have heard that the book is not much like the crazy movies that have been made, which excites me even more!

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