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  • Writer's pictureKali Kuzma

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly: A Book Review

An Old Classic

My first introduction to a classic novel came when I picked Jack London's White Fang off the library shelf at the young age of 10.

I remember the struggle of comprehending the words on the page, the writing outside my reading level. Even so, I pushed through completing the novel. It wasn't until 4 years later I was forced to pick up another classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. To my surprise, I loved it and it's still one of my favorites today.

Since then, I've read a good handful of classics ranging from 1984, Of Mice and Men, to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Not all have been delights to read, but I find a fair share to be memorable among my readings.

Over the last several years, I've decided to slip in one or two a year into my TBR list. With it being October, I figured now is the best time to introduce myself to Mary Shelley's, Frankenstein.

Overview of Frankenstein

Published in 1818 Frankenstein is an old classic following the life of Dr. Victor Frankenstein. From his younger, innocent years Victor learns how a love and passion for life and creation can ultimately lead to his downfall. Obsessed with bringing back the dead, he successfully brings life back into the world. But what he finds is that the monster he created might not be the monster at all, it might just be him.

The Cons of Frankenstein

· Background

As you know I love a good background story and, in this case, Victor's was fabulous. But the problem was, it wasn't really a background to the character as it was the forefront of the story. Even though this helped the reader realize how much madness Victor was falling into I think it could have been placed more towards the middle to give an even bigger punch.

· Editing

Writing over 200 years ago always has a feel of eloquence with a sense of wisdom. But unlike now-a-days there seemed to be a lack of editing. Constant use of the same words or phrases stuck out and not for the better. In fact, it often distracted from the story.

· Lack of Connection

Even though intended for the story, there is a lack of connection between the monster and Victor. It felt amiss especially after so much time was dedicated to bringing the monster to life. Because of this, the story fell flat in certain instances.

· Sickness

This is a minor issue, but the fact that people would fall sick for months on end back in the day is not only concerning but wastes character development and other plot points that could have been added in the story.

The Pros of Frankenstein

· The True Story

In modern day, Frankenstein has been remade so the entirety and deeper meaning of the story is lost. Because of this we only see a mad scientist with his creation causing destruction to the townspeople around them versus the oncoming madness they inflict onto one's selves.

· Perspective

Even though the sections of the book are told from Victor and the Monster's pov, it is actually a retelling of the story through letters from a young man, who similarly to Victor, has an adventure for life. Through the letters to his sister, you find he too may lead the same path if not careful. This perspective gave some depth to the story as well as a good ground for backstory.

· True Madness

Since you follow Victor's life in its entirety you slowly see why he comes to madness more and more as the story unfolds. Because of this, a feeling of sadness and realness can be found through the plot which is refreshing.

· Audio

I actually listened to this book on audio and would recommend doing the same for anyone who is thinking of reading the story. The narrator fully becomes the characters and the sadness they carry is telling in his voice.

Overall Review Summary

Another classic down, but so many more to read.

I truly loved listening to the tale of Frankenstein and his monster. It was raw and real especially when it came to the main characters. Capturing sadness to going insane is a hard plot to portray and Mary Shelley nailed it on the head.

Gruesome and rough, the story kept moving forward and just when you thought it couldn't get sadder, another plot point would reveal itself. Even though considered a monster due to his horrendous appearance, the monster himself was resourceful and intelligent given an even deeper meaning to the overall story.

Even though there was a lack of connection and understanding between the monster and Victor that could have propelled the story forward I think it gave an unlikely twist.

The best part was definitely the narration as I felt I was living in the time era and witnessing everything as it unfolded. Mary Shelley did a splendid job creating this novel. A feat not many women were able to accomplish over 200 years ago.

Have you read Frankenstein or any of the classic novels mentioned above? Tell me in the comments below!

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