If you are unaware, Mary Shelley’s masterpiece is the tale of an eponymous scientist who successfully attempts to thwart death and must live with the consequences of his creation, the now iconic Monster.
WHY I PICKED IT UP
I acquired the book as a gift, then picked it up in college after resolving to read more classics. I review it now because of the new movie which draws its inspiration from the book.
WHERE/WHY I STOPPED
I finished Frankenstein–I found it to be singular in its portrayal of what it means to be human–the novel explores how none of us choose our beginnings, but must still face how beginnings impact our lives.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER, IF ANYTHING
This novel’s beginning is EXTREMELY boring; multiple characters are introduced and given back-stories before the plot actually starts. I skipped until Letter IV in the preface, when some inklings of a plot finally show, only to be confounded in the entirety of the first three chapters where Dr. Frankenstein narrates his history from childhood. The ebook sample ends well before the plot proper is established.
No doubt the dryness is characteristic of its era, still, Mrs. Shelley establishes the validity of the narrative with an almost Cartesian thoroughness which can scare off the casual reader.
If this were a modern novel, the book should have begun directly with Letter IV and then used gradual exposition to educate us about the characters’ pasts.
This was a tough one to call. If it were not so ubiquitous a novel, I would have said “DON’T READ” as there is no hook to draw the reader onwards. I recommend reading it because the hook is in the outside world. Essentially, you already know the main premise and how this book ends and that’s enough to keep you reading.
But skip the boring parts if you need to.