Martin McClellan's Reviews > Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
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it was amazing

Things not in this book:


* A castle, especially one called Frankenstein
* An assistant of any kind, let alone one called Igor
* A lumbering monster. He is described as hideous, but with long black hair. One gets the sense that Frankenstein built the monster hoping to make him handsome, and instead made him loathesome.
* Madeline Kahn, but you could have guessed that.
* Speaking of which, there is no bride. Well, there is, but the less said about that the better. She certainly didn't have a shock of white hair.
* Eastern block countries. The tale takes place in Switzerland, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Russia, and the Arctic.
* Graveyard robbing.
* Brains.


I was amazed how many preconceptions I needed to shed to see this novel in a new light. To read it without seeing twentieth-century movies projected on its pages. Because, the legend has largely supplanted the text. Isn't that a shame, because the text is something else.

What is in this book: gnashing at the condition of its inhabitants. So much cursing and calling to high to better one's place, to no avail. And are you surprised? This, the blueprint of the Gothic novel, giving a definition of goth in misery. So far apart from our current understanding (as evidenced by the fashion of teenage angst) where this ghothic was predecated by happiness cut short by playing god and horrible tragedy.

I give it five stars for its overall effect, but it is certainly a book of its time and clunky in places. For example, Mary Shelley employed the word "countenance" forty-eight times in her novel "Frankenstein." For comparison, the name "Frankenstein," including the title, is used thirty-two times. The word "monster" thirty-three. "Victor": thirty. I had to laugh every time I came across that overused word.

But Shelley's marvelous plotting, tremendous metaphor building, and wholly original idea still holds to this day. How interesting to revisit this, which spawned so many who, ironically, are ugly lumbering imitations of the original.
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Started Reading
January 6, 2014 – Shelved
January 6, 2014 – Finished Reading

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Sara I think I read part of Frankenstein in school, but I don't remember finishing it. Perhaps it's time to do just that.


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