Frankenstein. Finished 4-29-17, rating 4/5 stars, classic, 206 pages, pub. 1818
Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein. from Goodreads
I read most of this one first thing during the 24 hour readathon. During the readathon you want short books so this classic fit the bill, but you also want books that read fast and this failed in that department for sure. I had a hard time with the archaic language at first, but got into the rhythm after about 20 pages or so and really got into the story. Yes, I knew some of the bigger plot points just from, you know, living life, but the majority of the story was completely new to me and quite compelling.
Victor Frankenstein became interested in the ancient alchemists when he was a teen in Geneva. He heads off to university to study chemistry when he becomes obsessed with bring inanimate objects to life. He succeeds and Frankenstein’s monster is born. Horrified by the ugliness before him he retreats, sickened. Henry, a childhood friend visits from home and nurses him back to health not really understanding that Victor’s nightmares are not make believe at all. After Victor gets better and life seems normal again, the monster finds Victor and begins a quest to hound him until a mate is made so the monster can have the companionship he deserves.
This story is almost 200 years old and still resonates for good reason. It has all the elements of a great story with something to say. The monster, aptly nicknamed, does horrific things, and yet, his first speech to Victor really inspired sympathy. The monster wanted only friendship and instead received nothing but terrified people in his wake. What happens if a person is shunned by everyone, even the one who made him? Especially the one he made him. Nothing good.
It’s a story still worth the time and effort. I’ve never seen any of the movies, so I might have to give those a look this summer.
This was my 12th selection for the Classics Club and it also counts for my Reading Harder challenge.