Beatrice's Reviews > Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
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Mar 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: required, literature, science-fiction
Read from March 24 to April 11, 2011

To be completely honest, I never thought I’d like this book. I inwardly groaned I was handed a copy of the book. (But then I guess anything would be better than Great Expectations .) It is an unspoken rule amongst students that you must not ever enjoy any kind of required reading for school; however, I found myself engrossed in Victor Frankenstein’s story and I desperately wanted to read ahead even though I knew my teacher would not have probably approved of that.

I have always been of the opinion that a good book must have morals. It must take a stand and have its own perceptions on a certain topic, or at least be able to form one through the course of the book. Based upon that aspect, this book truly delivers. I don’t know if anyone else outside a literature class has noticed this, but everything you need to know - all the wonderful aspects of the book - is written in the first sections of first volume, the epistolary parts. Truly, you just have to look, just like how my teacher advised me and my classmates. Such an ingenious trick, if I may say so myself.

Now, I know people might not be fond of certain things in the book - like the very flamboyant and wordy style of writing - but I find that I don’t mind. It’s refreshing in a complicated kind of way. After reading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, the extremely descriptive writing style is a welcome treat. However, I know that this wouldn’t be the case for everyone. Some may find it too confusing. I certainly have, in a couple of situations. But, despite all her adjectives and modifiers and whatnot, it is still pretty easy to understand. A few scenes that you would expect to be overly dramatic are quite downplayed (such as the creation of the monster), but seeing that the body of text is a narration by a horrified Victor, I can understand why he decided to hurry through those parts.

Despite the many aspects that do not generally appeal to all kinds of demographics (I suppose people my age wouldn’t care for this kind of book; they’ll probably just fall asleep reading it), I found myself subconsciously pulled into Victor’s ferocious and terrifying narrative. At times the narration of the character himself seems choppy, but the words are so ingrained into my mind that I can picture almost every scene even if Shelley gives just a couple of descriptions. People may argue that she’s only telling and not showing, but I beg to differ. I don’t need to know what the color the dress Elizabeth is wearing is to imagine her fine ministrations. I don’t need to know what the shape of Victor’s face is to imagine his distorted and disgusted expression when he sees his creation.

I only have a few complaints about this book. First, the ending was a bit anti-climactic, even for me. Sure, it might close things off in a somber note, but somehow it doesn't feel satisfying. What would've happened had Victor been alive to see the monster kill himself? Or would've the monster killed himself at all if Victor didn't die? Anyhow, there are many questions left unanswered by the end of the book. However, this might all just be a result of Victor's and the monster's untimely deaths. Unexpected. And unresolved. Another complaint would be Elizabeth. After all the rambling and arising questions about what makes or defines a monster, here comes Elizabeth with her perfection. She seems so out of place in this novel - in a cast full of flawed and miserable beings, she seems like the only shining star. Again, understandable, since Shelley seems to write her as a symbol rather than a fleshed and tainted character, like everyone else. Something about her just ticked me off, but I won't go into that.

Putting aside all these qualms about the book, it still is an enjoyable read. Not everyone's cup of tea, sure, but nonetheless I can understand why this would be deemed a classic. It brings to mind many questions about our being - ethics, nature, perfection, and many more. Had it not been at all subtle, it would've been controversial. Had it been as loud and flamboyant as The Catcher in the Rye , it probably would've even been banned. It's sad, however, that many Hollywood adaptations of this book do not do this book any justice - too much melodrama and theatrics, and not enough ethics and human nature.

So maybe it is just me being gushy and fanatic over Shelley’s novel, but I hope you don’t shoot me down for it. Give it a try; you might not like it, but it's certainly worth at least one chance.
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Reading Progress

03/24/2011 page 33
03/28/2011 page 73
29.0% "So far I'm really liking it. It has a complex and very descriptive narrative style, but I can't imagine myself ever getting bored with this."
03/29/2011 page 93
37.0% "I'm reading ahead. Once I actually start reading it, I can't put it down."
03/31/2011 page 99
39.0% "Moving much slower now since I am already so far ahead of the class, and I have other things to do. But, given that I have the time, I would definitely love to finish this book and digest it for a while before I go to class."
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by K.D. (last edited Apr 12, 2011 05:48PM) (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely I am still to read this. Buti ka pa!

Beatrice It's for school po kasi. Otherwise I wouldn't have read this. But I'm still glad I did. :)

message 3: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely :)

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