Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley 352 pages First published 1818 Fiction
So a while ago…quite a while ago, Amy from My Friend Amy did a challenge to have various bloggers review one of what Newsweek considered the 50 books of our times, which they defined as “which books—new or old, fiction or nonfiction—open a window on the times we live in, whether they deal directly with the issues of today or simply help us see ourselves in new and surprising ways.”
I was a little late to the party, so some of the books that I might have preferred were already claimed by other bloggers. Frankenstein leapt out at me because it’s a classic, and I figured it would be a good experience no matter what.
I don’t want to get too much into the book, but here’s a couple of things you should know that I didn’t know when I started Frankenstein:
- Frankenstein is not the monster; rather, he is the creator (Victor Frankenstein).
- The story starts out in epistolary form, and later changes to Victor and the monster recounting their portion of the story.
Victor is a completely unsympathetic character, and the monster is a lot more sympathetic than I would have thought. However, I found this book hard to get in to, and I had absolutely no desire at any point to continue reading, though I did so so that I could complete it for Amy’s challenge.
I can only assume that the writing was great back in 1818, but the English language has changed such that reading Shelley’s writing was slow going and frustrating at times.
Does Frankenstein “open a window on the times we live in”? Ehhh…not for me. I’m sure there are more modern books that are just as profound (don’t get me wrong, Frankenstein definitely had profound moments, though I *did* feel like Shelley beat me over the head with the poor monter/bad Frankenstein thread), books that are just frankly easier to read.
While Frankenstein wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience, I AM looking forward to reading Dracula, which I’ve heard is much better.