To be totally honest, the book itself only received 2 Stars; the extra 1 Star is for the fact that this book continues to remain a popular historicalTo be totally honest, the book itself only received 2 Stars; the extra 1 Star is for the fact that this book continues to remain a popular historical classic after all these years and I can see reasons why.
I don't claim to be a good critic of literature. Analyzing books in high school was one of my least favorite assignments. I read for enjoyment and entertainment; I like what I like and I don't like what I don't like. Frankenstein has been on my reading list for a long time for various reasons that aren't even all that significant. I'm glad that I've finally read it, but I'm not going to deny that I only partially enjoyed it--it's not a bad book, but it's not going to be one of my favorites any time soon.
The story itself is written very well. The format wherein a story is written as a series of letters sent to the sea captain, Walton's sister Margaret, is one of the appeals of the book. The long-running prose of Frankenstein himself is settled within one of these letters, written by Walton to his sister as well as edited by Frankenstein himself. On top of that, we then get an anecdote presented by the creature created by Frankenstein, told by Frankenstein to Walton, who embeds this short story into the long-running letter to his sister of Frankenstein's story.
Unfortunately, that may be where the attractiveness of the story itself stops. Frankenstein is a very intriguing and thought-provoking story and I dare to say that there is more meaning behind the concept, the ideals, and the reactions one would have towards the subject matter presented by Frankenstein. Is Frankenstein's creature pure malevolence by nature, or was he turned that way by society's treatment of him just because he's a hideous monster? Does someone become a monster because we turn that person into one, or would that same person become evil regardless?
The story itself, however, is filled with meandering tangents, long-drawn out monologues, and very little to draw out an emotional spark of any kind. The only time I might have felt saddened or slightly horrified was at the death of Elizabeth on her wedding night. Otherwise, it feels like good ol' Victor did enough angst-ing for the lot of us. The story also appeals heavily upon your suspension of disbelief as it gives very little credence to how one mad scientist could be so ingenious as to create a living creature by himself, or how this creature is able to be so far superior to human beings that he learns to communicate intellectually with Frankenstein in less than a year simply through observation.
Maybe I just don't know how to appreciate classic literature and I'm sure there are many people more apt to appreciate this book that myself. I've read very few old classics (I read Dracula in middle school and enjoyed it immensely, so it's not like I'm a complete pretentious jerk about classic literature). I'm not familiar with gothic horror either.
I understand that this is the fashion of which stories were written during Mary Shelley's time--long drawn out descriptions, lots of anecdotes and lots of stories within stories within stories (the format of which I do like), but that don't seem to pertain to the central plot. I was once told by a friend who is a lover of old classics that these books always loved to "tell, in five or more words, what can easily be told with just one".
It was a thing of the times, I guess.
Still, I'm glad that I read this book. I may not have enjoyed it much, but I have a better understanding of it's popularity now.
Reading this novel DOES bring into perspective how different the story of Frankenstein and his monster has become after Hollywood's touch, though. While reading this book, I tried very hard to conjure up the movie version of Frankenstein's monster, but it just did not fit the description given by the book itself. It makes you wonder, doesn't it?...more
I am of the impression that I'm one of the minority who either just didn't like this book, or who didn't understand the grandness of this book. I don'I am of the impression that I'm one of the minority who either just didn't like this book, or who didn't understand the grandness of this book. I don't know which it is; take your pick.
Maybe I'm just a pretentious bitch who doesn't like classics because they're classics. Or maybe not all classics are really all that good despite awards and hype and popularity.
But let's clarify.
The book is well written with imagery and description at some points, while at other points it gets pretty vague and sketchy. And just like that, the narration opts to explain away why things are confusing with the fact that, it's not a concept you understand but some things are just known. "What is the fifth dimension?" It's not something that can be explained, it's something that you "just know." "How does one tesser? And what does that even mean?" Again, this is something that cannot be explained with words; you "just know" what it is and how it works. "Who or What is Mrs. Whatsit?" Again, stop trying to explain these things with words; some things "just have to be known."
And this is pretty hard to stomach, even as an adult who loves to read fantasy a lot. Just as well, the book involves the presence of two brilliant scientists, so you would have thought that the logic in the story itself would make a little more sense.
The world has potential, I'll give it that. And maybe within the next four books of the series, things will come together a lot more enticingly. But as far as the story progression goes, A Wrinkle in Time was pretty boring. And frustrating. There isn't even a means to explain away The Dark Thing or "IT", which is pretty much summed up as "darkness" or "evil", plain and simple.
As a children's book, I guess this works out pretty well. Maybe had I read it when I was younger I would have been in awe of it, though I'm certain that the characters might have frustrated me anyway.
The kids are flat and boring when they're not annoying me. The three... I'll call them: "The Mysterious Beings Who Introduce the Quest", are flighty and confusing. The parents barely made enough of an appearance to really seem important. I especially found it a little insulting to find that Mom is an excellent, "brilliant" scientist, but she still spends more of her time being domestic while "the man" gets to go on government missions and adventures.
To be honest, the book started out pretty good and I was into it for the first four or five chapters. Meg was a pretty ideal heroine for young girls-- she's a nerd who's good at math, spends time doing academic stuff with her parents, and she's not "that quiet, pretty girl" in school who's cynical about her own looks to the point that you want to slap some sense into her. No, in fact, she's a troublemaker because she's misunderstood for her lack of trying to conform to the way that public education requires of you. She wears glasses and braces and is described by the in-story background characters as "that unattractive girl". She was realistic with her own age-appropriate issues to deal with, and she was the type of girl you would root for to come out on top.
And there was no love triangle.
And then we start the adventure and she does this thing where she cries, yells, cries some more, shrieks, screams, talks in exclamation points 90% of the time... Basically, she goes from a pretty ideal heroine to a hysterical damsel (despite the fact that she was never really in distress for much of the time she was being hysterical). On top of that, I felt that she lacked a lot of sense as well.
I feel like I'm one of few people who read this book who just didn't like Meg despite her affinity for brainy math problems and her non-standard-ness as a female main character in a young adult/middle grade novel.
All in all, this book could have been good if parts weren't so vague and if explanations didn't get filed away under "it just is" and then concluded the book in that fashion.
Moral of the story (which might work in a fantasy world if you want to keep your kids shielded from real life): Evil just is and love conquers all.
Also, parents aren't infallible, which apparently gives a child the right to be rude and disrespectful because Daddy Dearest can't make everything right? I'm still trying to process that one, because from where I come from, the stuff that Meg was spouting to her father after they escaped the Great Almighty IT the first time would never even have the audacity to fly around my parents....more