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{January 31, 2013}   {Review} Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

408291From Goodreads: 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.

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Once upon a time, I had to read Frankenstein in high school, and I certainly wasn’t a fan.  The language was difficult, the story lengthy, and I just didn’t see the point.  Truth be told, I don’t think I even read the whole thing, but I honestly can’t remember anymore.  The only part of the story I did remember, which is why I wonder if I read it in its entirety, was the monster trying to talk to the family he liked, and them reacting very badly to him.

Recently, I read A.E. Rought’s Broken, which is a spinoff of Frankenstein, and I decided that I really needed to sit down and read Frankenstein in order to make a decent comparison of the two novels.  So I did.  And you know what?  I really liked it.  Yes, the language in the beginning is difficult, and that makes it feel more lengthy than it really is, but it’s a great story, and I found that if I could get past the more boring epistolary beginning of the novel, to the part where Frankenstein begins his tale, it was actually quite interesting.  As I read, I found myself really getting into the story, and the questions of humanity versus science piqued my interest in a way it never has before.  I kept changing allegiances, yelling at Victor, then yelling at the monster.  In truth, Victor shouldn’t have played with life, but the monster should have started killing, either.  The monster is livid for being abandoned, but in reality, Victor ran out of the room in fear, and the monster left of his own volition prior to Victor’s return.  So, the idea of abandonment, in my opinion, is a bit weak.  I’d run if I was scared, too.  But Victor came back.  Yet, then again, if someone went yelling and screaming out of a room that I was in, would I wait around for them to come back?  Nope, I’d get out too.  So, I completely understand why the monster left.  This back and forth debate I found myself having was actually a lot of fun, but it didn’t stop there.  Once the murders begin, I found myself hating the monster, and then hating Victor and humanity when the monster explained his tale.  I originally thought Victor should have made a companion for the monster, but then again, Victor’s fears of a female monster choosing her own path and running rampant was a good point.  And this leaves me with the question of who is truly at fault?  Victor, for creating the monster, or the monster for using fear and anger prior to attempts at civil conversation?

Shelley has some amazing points that she brings up within this classic novel, and I completely understand why it would have invoked fear in the hearts of her readers in the 1800s, as well cause great debates.  I also think it’s pretty cool that now, fifteen years later, I can go back to a classic I “hated” and find it all together riveting.  Is it because my mind has matured over the last decade, or is it because no one is forcing me to read it? I guess we’ll never know.  Four stars.

4 stars

I borrowed a copy of this novel from the library.

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