Book Review: Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is nothing like any of the movies, and very different from what I expected it to be. The parts that are usually the iconic moments – the “alive!” birth of the monster, the final fatal confrontation of the creator and his monster, etc… – these were brushed over in two sentences, and other scenes were described in detail, drawn out, and dwelt on. I liked the direction the story took!

I loved the over-the-top gothic drama; it was actually so ornate and dramatic that it became funny at times! The style reminded me of Ann Radcliffe’s gothic romance mysteries.

Here’s a passage that I found very funny: “Devil, cease! and do not poison the air with these sounds of malice. I have declared my resolution to you, and I am no coward to bend beneath words. Leave me; I am inexorable.” Haha! That just cracks me up for some reason.

Every ‘good’ character is completely good and totally incapable of an evil thought or selfish action, so that Frankenstein’s family is apparently populated with angels, all of them beautiful in the extreme. His home life is perfect and joyful and utterly tranquil.

Nearly every character gets murdered at one point or another, so just prepare yourself for that. Very sad and pathetic deaths with lots of tragedy and turmoil.
In contrast to the dark subject material, the settings are usually these beautiful mountain scenes, lakes, riversides, frozen tundras, and isolated islands. The beauty of nature is constantly praised and remarked upon as being a counterpoint to Dr. Frankenstein’s despair, and a singular source of peace and contentment for creator and monstrous creature alike.

Part of the narrative is told by Dr. Frankenstein, detailing his childhood, school years, and the creation of the monster. Then he relates a conversation with the monster, Adam, which takes several chapters of Adam relating his experience of waking up and learning to speak and his various interactions with humans up to that point.

When Adam was telling his side of the story, I felt really sorry for him, up to the point where he got all angry at the world and started murdering people. I got really frustrated with him, because he speaks of feeling affection, pity, and even love. He converses very intelligently, logically, and persuasively. He knows the nature of virtue, but he chooses to do evil instead. What’s your problem, dude?! I mean, I get that you’ve had some bad times, and you’re all ugly and stuff; but seriously, you’re not gonna make it better by killing people.

Overall, this is a fantastic story, gripping, thrilling, and horrifying when it isn’t being funny. I enjoyed reading it!

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