I had the chance to read this book in an English class I’m taking this semester. I was at first terribly excited, and then terribly disappointed, and then terribly engrossed. The beginning of this book was slow-going and somewhat painful, until we finally reached the narration of Victor Frankenstein himself and the story finally took off. This novel contains a lot of food for thought, and if you don’t get anything else out of this novel other than understanding the origins of this legendary classic, then that alone is worth the time. I genuinely enjoyed this book and its characters, and the thoughts of society and many outlets for analysis and interpretation it contains. It definitely didn’t end up disappointing me, even though it was nothing like what I expected.
What I Liked:
- The many characters in this novel all had unique and interesting voices. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters and understanding their perspectives of the world. It was easy to see why Victor was so terrified of what he had done, though he acted irrationally at times, and even more interesting was understanding the monster’s point of view when he pleads with Victor to create a companion for him. It’s so convincing on so many different levels, and it turns you in so many directions when you read. You tend to want to agree with whatever narrator is currently speaking, and it’s cool to see how Shelley was able to develop so many different points of view. It truly helps you understand each character’s stance and where they’re coming from. It made it difficult to truly label anyone as hero or villain.
- I ended up loving the writing style here. The story was constructed in a way that made you want to keep reading, turning page after page to discover what would happen next. Shelley’s writing truly is beautiful to read, and it both flows and is emotional. It was just lovely to read, and I would definitely read something else from Shelley. It was haunting in a simple and subtle way.
What I Didn’t Like:
- The beginning of this book lagged so much that I doubted early on that I would like it at all. Walton’s narration to his sister through his letters in the beginning was extremely boring, and I just kept asking myself when we would get to the real story. Walton only served as a means of ending the story after Victor’s death, and I’m not sure that brief part was worth it—yes, it was nice to see how the story ended with the monster after Victor died in his search, but maybe an epilogue detailing that scenario would have been better than needlessly introducing a character to relay the experience. I’m also not sure why Walton would bother telling his sister this frightful story? It was certainly improbably that the letters would have been accurate anyway, unless Victor was writing them himself. I just didn’t like this aspect of the story, and it made the beginning and ending drag out,
Overall: I would say this definitely deserves the title of classic, and it’s a must-read for everyone, even if it’s just to understand where this famous monster comes from. It’s much different than any version of Frankenstein in film that I know of, and it made for a brand new read (even for those well-versed in Frankenstein films). I would definitely recommend it for any age group and any type of reader. It’s written in a style that most classics are, so be wary of that if you’re not generally a fan of classics. As for me, though, I definitely enjoyed it and would consider reading more of Shelley’s work.