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.