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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet


Author: Mary Shelley
Originally Published: 1818
Edition Courtney Read Published: 1994
Publisher: Puffin Books, an imprint of the Penguin Group
Source: Purchased

The Story

From the back of the book:

Victor Frankenstein, a Swiss scientist, has a great ambition: to create intelligent life. But when his creature first stirs, he realizes he has made a monster. A monster which, abandoned by its maker and shunned by everyone who sees it, dogs Dr. Frankenstein with murder and horrors to the very ends of the earth.

The Response

I’ve had this blog for almost 7 years. And while I’ve posted about all the books I’ve read in those almost-7 years, I still own many books that I had read before then that I haven’t revisited since before I started my blog. Frankenstein is one of those books. In fact, I haven’t read it in… oh my, it’s been 17 years. Definitely time for a reread.

And here’s the thing about books that haven’t been read in 17 years… you forget a whole lot about it and it’s almost like reading it for the first time again. In this case, not only had I forgotten the majority of what happened, apparently a lot of what I thought happened never actually did (and I’ve no idea now where some of the things I thought happened got picked up along the way).

So it really WAS like discovering the book all over again for the first time.

While not as horror-inducing as some modern-day stories, the concepts behind it are still chilling to the bone – creating a new being with intelligent life in a scientific experiment is something that even in modern stories gets visited on. In this case, even the person who created the being is terrified of his own creation – moreso than the general public because he knows what went into the making of this being. And then to find that your scientific experiment turns on you and hunts you and kills everyone that you hold dear… This is the stuff nightmares are made of.

I don’t remember much of what I thought about Frankenstein’s monster when I read this previously, but this time around I found him extremely interesting… To see the way the character developed from a brand-new-baby state to one of awe and love for human beings to hatred and malice towards all humanity because of their horror and ill treatment of him. The part where the monster narrated his own story was by far my favourite part in the whole book! I definitely felt for the monster and wish things had turned out differently for him.

One point was brought up continually through this book in the way characters treated the monster. He was just reacting to the cruelty that he was face with – how much could we learn from that? How much are the people of this world who are mean and cruel just reacting to what they’ve been given in life?

The thing that most bothered me about this book was Frankenstein himself – oh goodness, and he bothered me greatly. Every time something bad happened to him, he went and had a mad spell for at least six months. Yeah, awesome way to react to it. Great way for you to get my sympathy. Oh! My best friend was murdered! Going to be delirious for months instead of trying to find the monster! Bah. Seemed like it was just a way for him to pretend like he wasn’t at fault for creating the monster for a few months.

But other than that, I loved it and really enjoyed revisiting this one!

The Bottom Line

It’s completely understandable why this is a classic, and it most certainly deserves to be. Highly recommended.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:47 am May 31, 2012.
Category: Speculative Fiction
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  • Kailana

    One day I am going to read this book…. People seem to love it!

  • Aarti

    Ohmigosh, YES. Frankenstein was such a tool! He lost me when he tried to convince readers that he felt more deep pain at his maid being blamed for a crime that she didn’t commit than she did, even though… well, she’s the one who had to pay for it.

  • Cheryl

    I tend to forget large swathes of things about books I’ve read, so I always enjoy going back and rediscovering them! It’s been years for me with Frankenstein, but I do remember I loved it. And that I HATED Victor! It was his narcissism that got to me–whatever horrible things are happening, it’s all about Victor and HIS pain, no one else’s. Yeesh.

    But I loved the book, and I thought the Creature was so fascinating. Very worthy of being a classic!