With so many books and activities vying for your attention, why should you read a book from 1818, written by an 18 year old? That is to be my goal in this review, to talk about why everyone should read this book.
First off, Mary Shelley invents the science fiction genre with Frankenstein. No other work before Frankenstein can really be considered science fiction. It is about a man, named Victor Frankenstein, that creates life, through science, but the creator spurns his creation. The monster must figure out the world on his own without the help of his creator, while the creator just goes about his life. The monster realizes that the reason his life is detestable is because of his creator not giving him direction and guidance, and he turns against Frankenstein. There are so many connections of this story to the Biblical creation story that I absolutely loved. Even the first hours of life that the monster was alive was a direct parallel to the 7 day creation story. Milton’s Paradise Lost was so influential in this story and it adds so much to Frankenstein that Shelley based so much of this work off of connections to Paradise Lost.
Another reason you should give Frankenstein a try is that the prose is absolutely beautiful. The descriptions of the landscape will make you want to visit Switzerland. The descriptions of the different emotions are so spot on, my favorite being the description of grief after Frankenstein’s mother passes away. The monster trying to understand who he is was written so beautiful and captivating. This is not a difficult book to understand, like some classics, and because of that I highly recommend it to people just starting to read classic literature. It is beautiful without being overstated and wordy.
The next reason you should give Frankenstein a try is because of the Gothic nature of the story. There is a mist of foreboding, mystery, and terror that hangs over this book. I have yet to read anything this old that has captured the feeling of a newer horror novel. It really isn’t the actual monster that makes us on edge but Frankenstein’s anxiety about the monster. He is just a mess of a character but his terror of the monster really comes through.
Lastly you should check out Frankenstein because it’ll mean something different to every reader. For me it is the slide from innocence to murderer because of the lack of direction. The monster started out as a gentle soul and if Victor actually spent time with him, cultivated him, he would have been a fine person. Instead, the monster had to learn about life the hard way and his disfigurement was all anyone could see. After being rejected and living in misery he turned into the monster that everyone thought he was. It is just a sad story but it shouldn’t be overlooked that he did turn into a murderer. I think that Shelley is telling us that each of us, if given to our own devices, will turn into something that is not good.
I really liked this story a lot and I am glad I read this. I will definitely re-read this in the future and it is one of my favorite classics that I’ve read so far. I have my doubts about giving it a 5 star rating though but maybe I’ll bump it up in the future with a re-read, who knows.
4/5 18/25 Possible Score
Plot – 3(Good)
Characters – 3(Good)
Setting/World Building – 4(Strong)
Writing Style – 4(Strong)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 4(Strong)