Reviews: Frankenstein

I did not enjoy this book

Mary Shelley originally intended to publish Frankenstein as a short story. It was at the suggestion of her husband that she expanded the tale into a novel. I'm of the opinion that he should have kept his mouth shut. While the premise is solid, interesting, and original, there simply isn't enough story here to fill a whole novel.

I can forgive the looong Character Filibusters that stretch my Willing Suspension Of DisbeliefIt Just Bugs Me, but I know that was the style at the time. But there's so much Padding! Victor goes to Europe, whee, let's look at all the pretty mountains in Switzerland for ten pages! Yay! And what's worse is that when the actual story comes along, she skips right past it. The pivotal scene where Victor destroys the second creature takes place in the span of less than a paragraph; blink and you'll miss it. It doesn't help that I disliked the protagonist as much as I did. This guy has all the cowardice of Rincewind with none of the charming Genre Savvy.

Knowing that most of this is probably done on purpose is little comfort. I still found it insufferably dull. As a stylistic and thematic microcosm of the Romantic Era, yes, it's an excellent piece of literature, and in that context, sure, I could recommend it quite highly. But as a story, meant to frighten and entertain? I have difficulty seeing the appeal. Shelley originally intended to write a ghost story. I think I could find more Nightmare Fuel in Teletubbies.

Okay, I can give it some credit for a great premise. Crazy scientist brings a corpse to life? Yeah, that's pretty damn cool, and it deserves its place in pop culture, although I think its various adaptations did a much better job with it. And the book has its moments. I kind of liked the bits where Frankenstein is interacting with the sailor guy. And there's that whole microcosm thing I already mentioned.

But on the whole, there are lots of classics that I'd gladly recommend reading for pleasure, and this is not one of them.

Review of Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus

As You Know, Bob, this is Shelley's original novel, which I read for AP Lang. & Comp. I enjoyed it, and Shelley is clearly a good writer. She crafts morally complex conflicts and raises interesting questions, which are a refreshing break from Flat Characters and anvilicious over-simplified conflicts. She also handles difficult tropes like Sanity Slippage and Irony very well. (It is also probably the Ur Example of Uncanny Valley.) That said, I have some advice for you: If you don't have a high tolerance for Tear Jerkers and angst, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. I love Flowers For Algernon, and The Catcher In The Rye, and I must say, even I wanted to give Victor Frankenstein a sharp shake and tell him to quit whining. Granted, Shelley did this on purpose, to hilight his mental instability and his selfishness, but it still grates the nerves after a while. And at the end... I cried like a baby.