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.

10 comments:

  1. 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.

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

    cjh

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

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  4. 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.

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

    Nice review!!

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  6. 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." ;)

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

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

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  9. *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!

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  10. 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.

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