Sunday, January 22, 2017

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I listened to this through the CraftLit podcast. This is another of those classic books where everyone knows the story (but please stop calling the monster Frankenstein) but very few people have actually read the story.

This was not the Frankenstein story I thought it would be.

(although I still really like Young Frankenstein)

Victor Frankenstein is a regular guy who has a deep interest in the natural sciences. He works feverishly to create a being, a life. There is very little fanfare when the monster awakens in the novel. What is evident is Victor's horror at what he has done. Victor abandons the monster to it's own devices while he goes into a "frenzy" or hysterical illness and is out of commission for quite a while. Quite literally, he lays eyes on his creation for moments before not seeing it again for YEARS.

Victor is a putz. He abandoned his creation because he didn't like how it looked. He created human life and turned his back on it. How differently this story would have been if he had taken the time to teach the monster how to be a decent human. But you can't really teach what you don't know, can you?

A member of Victor's family is found murdered with another member of the family arrested for it. Victor knows it's the monster getting his revenge. Yet each and every time he encounters the monster, he does nothing but flail at the injustice to HIM, Victor.

We get the monster's side of the story and end up very sympathetic to him while thinking more and more that Victor is a putz.

A showdown between the two is inevitable yet, Victor fails again to do anything. In the end, Victor dies without having stopped the monster and the monster moves on.

Excellent novel with a lot of "Really? Isn't that a coincidence?" which only sidebarred me a little. We needed the coincidences to keep the plot moving. This is very much a Romantic style novel (not Hallmark romantic....era Romantic) and Victor's flailing and monologues were a tad much for me sometimes. Overall, I'm so glad I now have the original Frankenstein under my belt. The movies misinformed me! :)

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