Book: Frankenstein

Author: Mary Shelley

Rating: 4/5

Frankenstein-Mary Shelley

A young scientist discovers the secrets to creating life in the laboratory, and is horrified by the results. This is the tale of two cursed wretches; the creator and the created, and their intertwining fates.

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Social/Historical context:

This novel is Mary Shelley's stroke of pure genius, and her masterpiece. The idea of man as God is as taboo and provocative a theme as any, and this book has shaken the entire world with its outrageous horror. Shelley also delivers a splendid, ripping tale of deceit, murder, and relentless pursuit, set against the lush backdrop of vividly painted seasons, from France to the frozen mountains of ice in the Arctic!

Writing Style:

Gothic! This is a true, pure example of some good, dark, gothic literature. It is full of despair, agony, terror, and a good dash of hopelessness. Add in some destruction of innocence, and you have "Frankenstein!" Told in a very clever use of first-person narrative, Shelley allows both her main characters to speak as the narrator. 

My Thoughts:

I was surprised at how good this book actually was. After seeing a number of "Frankenstein" movies throughout my life, I was prepared for a novel about a mindless monster, stumbling around a lab and breaking everything in its path. What I got instead was a passionate tale of deep sadness and tragedy, where Shelley explored the themes of natural law, justice, evil vs. good, love, loss, redemption, and death. Yes, that's a lot, but she does it! Her descriptions of the landscapes are gorgeous, and her ability to present concise points economically was actually startling to me! The only knock I would have on this is that there are a couple little holes in the story (why would Frankenstein let his brand new bride go to bed alone, knowing he was being stalked by a monster?),and not much character-development, although I do realize this is more of an internal thematic wrestling match. However, as a package, really, this is a very well-written, very sad, tragic story, and a great book. 

Book Reviewed by Jim Smith

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