Friday, October 26, 2007

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley: A Review

Title: Frankenstein
Author: Mary Shelley
Date Finished: October 21, 2007
Pages: 282
Rating: 3.75/5

I think that I put a stigma on classical literature. I expect them all to be difficult to read and comprehend or frankly just boring. Kind of like Howards End, which I struggled through last month. Because of these feelings, I put off this type of literature. In the case of this book, I wrongly judged the book.

The book begins with letters from a man, Walton, to his sister. He is on a journey, presumably near the Arctic, and he encounters a man who is in search of another man. The man, of course, is Frankenstein, and he relates his story to Walton of how he created a monster. While the name Frankenstein (often mistaken for the monster) is incredibly well-known, I was surprised at how little of the actual story I was familiar with. Frankenstein creates his monster--pieced together from parts of several beings--and when he first sees the monster hovering over him, he realizes the wrong he has done. The monster, lonely and misunderstood, leaves for a few years but reenters the story after he kills Frankensteins little brother. It seems he sees his strength and horror as a type of power of Frankenstein; he uses this power to his advantage after he realizes he has no place in society and thus bribes Frankenstein to make him a mate. Frankenstein refuses and the lives become devoted to chasing and hiding from one another.

While I really liked the story and felt myself being drawn into the details, I am not--nor never have been--a fan of romantic literature. Some of the passages are bogged down with romantic details (nature and such) that I started to become a little impatient with. Otherwise, it was a good and surprisingly quick/easy read. I kind of had a "seriously?" moment at the very end, but overall I thought Shelley did a fantastic job at probing at the depth of human nature.


Ana S. said...

It is surprisingly very readable, isn't it? Also, I remember that back when I read it for the first time I wasn't familiar with any of the details of the story. For example, I'd always thought that "Frankenstein" was the monster's name.

CJ said...

Boy, this is another one I read so long ago the details have faded. I think I may need to revisit it.


Bellezza said...

I have twenty pages to go on Frankenstein, so I'll come back tomorrow!

Kristen said...

I also found myself bogged down in some of the language when I read this, but it's still a thrilling read. I just can't believe she was a teenager when she wrote it, and yet it's become one of the most powerful metaphors our culture has for the human condition.

Stephanie said...

You know...I have never read this book. One of these days I've got to pick it up!!

Nice review!!

Anonymous said...

For me I think it's less that I expect the books to be bad, than that I have this feeling like I should read them... and I was never very good at doing what I "should." ;)

Petunia said...

I plan to read this one for the RIP III Challenge next year. It sounds very good.

chelsea said...

This is the book that got me to thinking about revisiting some of those "required readings".

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Nymeth - I've really been enjoying reading these classics; I'm not sure where along the way I developed the idea that all classics were not accessible!!

*CJ - Its a pretty quick read, but that's part of the reason why I blog about the books...just so I can remember even just the plot!

*Bellezza - Can't wait to read your review!

*Kristen - It is amazing how young Shelley was--I couldn't stop thinking about that while I was reading.

*Stephanie - if you're looking to read a classic, this one was pretty quick. Not my favorite, but still good.

*Heather - Funny, now that I'm OUT of school I am reading all the books I should have read back then.

*Petunia - Perfect choice for RIP III!

*Ebony - I've been reading a lot of those "required reading" books lately and they've generally been better than I expected. Still waiting to fall in love, but like is better than loathe. Thanks for coming by!

Jeane said...

I was pleasantly surprised when I read Frankenstein, too. All I knew of the story before was the creation of the monster: boy, had I missed a lot! I liked the long descriptions, but found other parts of the story really stretching credulity- like how the monster taught himself to read.