Emily May's Reviews > Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
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May 17, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: sci-fi, classics, favourites
Read in October, 2004

“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”

I was walking along earlier today with Jacquie and discussing the important things like, you know... books. And the subject of our top favourite books of all time came up. Oddly enough, two of our top three were the same - Wuthering Heights and Crime and Punishment. Then Jacquie said her third was a book that I hadn't thought about in a very long time. That book was Frankenstein. It hit me like a shot of good literature: I had forgotten all about this classic that had so affected me, made me think and completely torn my heart out multiple times.

Frankenstein? I said. I must go review that right now.

You see, though, the best and worst thing about this novel is how distorted it has become by constant movie adaptations and misinformed ideas about the nature of Frankenstein and his "monster". For years I thought Frankenstein was the name of that slightly green dude with the bolts in his neck. Nuh-uh.

Did Frankenstein scare me? Did it have me staying awake and sleeping with the light on, jumping at every slight creak in the house? Was I terrified of the monster and technology and the dangers of playing God? No. Because the beauty of this story is that it isn't the one so many people think it is. Which is almost my favourite thing about it. This book is not a Halloween kind of story with Halloween kind of monsters. This story is nothing short of heartbreakingly sad.

“...once I falsely hoped to meet the beings who, pardoning my outward form, would love me for the excellent qualities which I was capable of unfolding.”

The book offers many interesting avenues of philosophical exploration if one is so inclined to ponder such things; for example, allusions to religion and Genesis, possible criticisms of using science to "play God", the relationship between creator and creation. All of these things interest me, yes, but it is the painfully human part of this book that has always so deeply affected me.

Because the sad thing, the really sad thing, is that pretty much everyone has heard of Frankenstein's monster... but so many don't know how human the character is. Created as a scientific experiment by an overly ambitious man, he comes into a frightening and hostile world that immediately rejects him on sight. Even the man who made him cannot look upon his creation without feeling horror. It's that same thing that gets me in books every time: things could have been so different. If people had just been a little less judgmental, a little less scared, and a little more understanding.

This being, created from different parts of corpses, seeks love and finds hatred, so he instead decides to embrace it. Fuelled by his own rage at the unfairness of the world, he gradually turns towards evil. Everyone knows him as "the monster" so it's hard for me to call him anything else, but I basically always saw him like this:

He belongs in my own little mind category with the likes of Heathcliff and Erik (aka The Phantom of the Opera). Scared, angry villains who were made so by their own unfortunate circumstances that plunged them into worlds where they couldn't find a place. The kind of characters you simultaneously hate and love, but most of all hope they find some kind of peace.

So call it science-fiction, if you will. Call it horror, if you must. But this story is brimming with some of the most realistic and almost unbearably moving human emotion that I have ever read.

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Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

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message 1: by Krystal (new)

Krystal My word. Frankenstein. I still remember sitting in my high school english class, debating whether Frankenstein made the monster or whether people's fear did that. This is such a great story and you captured the beauty of it so excellently. One of your best reviews yet.

Ravyn I am reading this, right now. Chapter 4 is the greatest literature I've ever read.

Mackenzi Frankenstein is one of the books my heart is made of. What a great review--you really captured the book!

Andrew Great review! I read this book last year and I have had some difficulty to find in these pages the monster that belong to general imagination. It is more complex and 'human', for good or evil, dragged to his destiny by human hate.

Sonya & johansen & love that was a beautiful review whemnim done the book im reading im definitely reading Frankenstein

Mike I can't stop myself grinning in response to that first line of yours. An absolutely stellar review that has me compelled to reread this one again.

PageTurner Beautifully written review! I will definitely be rereading this classic over the weekend. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention:)

Elise I read this in high school but I don't think I fully appreciated it's terrible beauty. I think a re-read is in order.

Emily May Thank you all for your kind comments :)

@Mike You know I'm right, hehe.

@Elise I know exactly what you mean. I remember hating so many classics when we were made to study them in school... now they're some of my all time favourites.

message 10: by Vane (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vane J. I totally agree with you. Frankenstein is amongst my favorite books of all time, it is beautifully written and is heart-breakingfully sad. I read it for the first time for a school assignment two years ago, and since then I appreciated its magnificence.

Great review, by the way!

P.S.:I am right now reading Wuthering Heights, which is, I see, your favorite book, so I hope I like it also.

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Krystal wrote: "My word. Frankenstein. I still remember sitting in my high school english class, debating whether Frankenstein made the monster or whether people's fear did that..."

I really like the way that idea is expressed!

Jessica *The Lovely Books* Great review!

Rogier great review. it is one of my favorite classics

message 14: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Outstanding review!

message 15: by Celeste (new)

Celeste Beautiful review :) Frankenstein is on my to read list this year.

message 16: by Kavya (new)

Kavya Pemberly Digital is doing a video adaption (on youtube) with pbs digital studios of this book.

Sydney Hawes I liked this review a lot. Though Frankenstein will always be remembered as a terrible reading experience for me. Yes, the prose was good. I just can't get past the character of Victor Frankenstein. He rejects all those who love him, and brings into the world his monster who never asked to be born again. Ugh, he annoys me so much it ruined the book for me.

Steve Sorenson You hit the beauty of this book-- in a world full of unfairness and rejection, love is oft turned to hatred
Thanks for your thoughts

Emily May Steve wrote: "You hit the beauty of this book-- in a world full of unfairness and rejection, love is oft turned to hatred
Thanks for your thoughts"

Thank you for saying so, Steve :)

Bannedbooksbestreadsever Ugh. This story just breaks my heart. That phrase alone sums up the entire story. So sad. Really. You have to open your mind to the writer knowing the Dr. Is the one who's crazy.

Vashti This is a great review. It actually conjures up all those heartbreaking feelings I had when reading the book. I'm reminded that the "monster" doesn't even have a name. Such a surprising read!

Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* Beautiful review

Keith**BookReviewing24/7** Great Review.
I hate calling him 'The monster' seems ridiculously unfair.
I feel his pain though I walk around with a scarred face and the looks sometimes feel close to pitchfork mentality.

message 24: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth Bonini This review is stunning. I don't like this novel very much, as a reading experience, but I completely agree with your interpretation of it.

message 25: by Dawn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dawn Emily May ~ I wish I had written this review ! This review is Five Star ! The way you have described Mary Shelley's Classic is magnificent. The sweet girl in tears above was me the first time I read this classic . I thought of how horrific it would be for your own Mother or Father or our Creator Father God did not unconditionally love any of the children brought unto this earth . Parents of handicapped and less than perfect children still love and believe their babies are lovely and unconditionally accept them because of the emotional connection of creation and some unknown magical experience that comes with the unexplained feelings we have such as love and the belief in the unknown spiritual connections we feel in our lives . Those feelings of love are miraculously there for people and animals and your whole body aches and lets you know these feelings . There may be no logical reason for these emotions but they do exists in your thoughts and your body reflects and reacts to them just the same. I always found it hard that Frankenstein 's creator rejected him and could not love him at all. Frankenstein had no guidance and was left to his own free will . What if God left us to be born with no guidance or love ? There , now we see why we have people now that act the way they do when they are raised without love and guidance . People that thought the book long , boring and immature in writing style should be a bit patient in remembering the time period and experience of a young woman writer. The idea and concept of the story was very thoughtful for an eighteen year old .
Reading your review , I feel like crying for humanity's misfits and those unloved and mistreated everywhere all over again.

Allan Wood Thanks for giving this great book its proper praise.

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