Tuesday, October 28, 2014

19 of 1001 Books: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Frankenstein might be a book you were assigned in high school to read, but in high school we never got around to it. Here I am a few years later though picking it up to read, and see about around the time of Halloween. For a book written by a lady no older than 18 though, I have to say that Shelley had incredible insight and depth in the human heart and insecurities that makes it a compelling read. Also, unlike the many movie versions I've seen you get a view of the monster that is a little less barbaric and one of a frustrated and troubled being.

Summary: Frankenstein leaves for school, and while there ends up creating a monster that he regrets. The monster though isn't quite the monster that everyone seems to want to make it out the be, but more so a misunderstood creation that was left abandon by it's creator. Throughout the novel because Frankenstein abandons his creation there is much to follow involving murders, the monster's search for belonging, and Frankenstein experiencing his own lost in the chaos that follows.

Characters: I thought the characters were complex, and the best part of the story. Everything from you ending up despising Frankenstein to feeling terribly for the monster feels real. I almost felt like I was watching a modern TV drama. I also felt terribly for the victims in all the process, because it seemed if there should have been one victim it would have been Frankenstein.

Writing: I'm not going to lie I don't seek out most books written in this style and time frame for reading pleasure. I felt like I have matured since checking out the last book wrote in this style. Maybe that book was Dracula? I can't remember. Throughout this book I began thinking through why a person from the 1800's was commonly writing a book as if the lead was narrating or writing letters, and it's interesting for someone in a completely different time to grasp the concept that many authors from this time were coming from the tradition of oral storytelling and sending letters to people. It adds realness to the book in getting the vibe of that time.

If there is one aspect that seems to lull and veer it's the part where a lot of hours of the book are spent with the monster lurking and stalking some unexpecting admirers. This does build up the moment though that most readers by now know will turn to tragedy as the monster tries to find people accepting of him. I have to say even those aspects of the book broke my heart.

Mary Shelley wrote an impressive book for her age, and it also gets me to thinking about the generation of her time that we now treat as if they are pretty incapable. Not only does Shelley book seem to make a great read for any adult or teen, but it also seems to be a lesson in that age isn't a hindrance to accomplishing something.

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