Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Title: Frankenstein
Author: Mary Shelley
Published: 1818
Genre: Classic Literature – Gothic/Horror

Summary: ‘Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed?’

My Rating: 8igbk4dbt8igbk4dbt – but really 1.5

Today’s review of Frankenstein is brought to you by GIFs! Because they make everything better!

To summarize what I felt about this book is just this; this book is utterly ridiculous. Truly the legend and the idea of Frankenstein surpasses the actual original work. Mary Shelley was but 19 when she wrote it and as you can imagine; it very much reads as dramatic as Twilight fanfiction the one difference is that her IDEA is innovative but she did not have the life skills or the writing chops to pull off a complicated, evocative piece. In a way I understand why the characters are so one-dimensional, when I was 19 I wrote like this too. The men were melodramatic, there was plenty of fainting, I was overly descriptive of nature and I had a thing for tragic endings. Add flowery 19th century language and you have a modern-day bad fanfic.

Shelley created two characters but the title Frankenstein belongs to the ‘mad scientist’ who is far more the ‘ridiculous theatrical whining self-absorbed man who spends little time with science and all his time pressing himself against grass to wallow in his guilt’. I kid you not. He literally throws himself against grass, don’t believe me? Quote!

“I found myself fettered again to grief and indulging in all the misery of reflection. Then I spurred on my animal, striving so to forget the world, my fears, and more than all, myself—or, in a more desperate fashion, I alighted and threw myself on the grass, weighed down by horror and despair.”

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I wouldn’t have minded if this sentiment had not been expressed 400 times already. Yes, we GET IT YOU FEEL GUILTY but PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER MAN!!

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I don’t know if perhaps I went in thinking I was going to get a complex mad-man who made me question what was right and what was wrong, what is ethical and unethical but Frankenstein never behaved like a student of science and this is not a scientific book. This is not even a horror book or gothic. This felt a lot more like a pity party, party of one.

There are time when Frankestein literally presses himself against corners in despair. Don’t believe me? Quote!!

“During this conversation I had retired to a corner of the prison room, where I could conceal the horrid anguish that possessed me. Despair! Who dared talk of that? The poor
victim, who on the morrow was to pass the awful boundary between life and death, felt not, as I did, such deep and bitter agony. I gnashed my teeth and ground them together,
uttering a groan that came from my inmost soul.”

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And if you THINK this is the only instance where Shelley used the word “gnashed” you are mistaken, my friend! GNASHED was used and abused twice more! Leave gnashed alone!!!

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To illustrate the amount of baby-mama-drama there was in this book let us use numbers!

WEPT – mentioned 19 times!
SORROW – mentioned 29 times! (C’MON MAN, THIS IS NOT EVEN SET IN SUDAN!)
HORROR – 49 times. You know there’s no horror when you have to keep saying horror.
MISERY – 50 times, but not as miserable as the reader, amirite??
DESPAIR – 53 FUCKING TIMES ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW FRANKIE??

LOVE – 156 times.

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I was hoping that once we got to the Monster’s POV it would be less dramatic because I thought no one was as dramatic as Frankie but it turns out all of Shelley’s characters are the epitome of self-loathing drama. However, all 2 stars of this review go to the Monster whom I rooted for 1000% of the time. Frankie creates this monster (using science which will not be mentioned because Shelley did not know it) and then is abhorred when he sees him come to life (granted he’s the one who I presume added his nose, his eyes, his mouth) yet at the sight of him alive sends Frankie into hysterics.

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The Monster wakes abandoned by his maker and stumbles around life as gentle humans scream at the mere sight of him. He knows not words, knowledge, language, nada. He finds refuge in the country where he observes a family and by watching through a hole in the window he learns fluent French, social norms, complicated philosophy, reading Plato (I kid you not, even I have trouble with Plato, Aristotle and Milton – MILTON who most people need to extensively study!) yet our Monster understands Paradise Lost and decides it’s a good idea to introduce himself to these people he’s been spying on for what seems like 2 years. It goes badly, as you can imagine, and in revenge the Monster decides to destroy Frankie’s life and thus goes the novel. The Monster kills someone Frankie loves, Frankie breaks down, faints, somehow develops a fever that bed-binds him for months and so on and so forth.

By the end of it, I think I can appreciate the 19th century language that Shelley employed but honestly, this book is ridiculous. The plot is ridiculous, the characters are pure caricatures and everyone dies at the end. I think most movies based on this would be far better as we can study the complexities which were left untouched by Shelley. And less fainting and pressing against walls, grass and beds.

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