Anne's Reviews > Frankenstein

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
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did not like it
bookshelves: horror, classics, read-with-jillybean, read-in-2014

So.
I finished it.

Warning:
If you are a fan of classic literature and/or are utterly devoid of a sense of humor this review may not be for you.
Also:
Yes, I realize that I'm a moron with zero literary credibility. So, stop reading right now if the sound of an idiot whistling out of their asshole bothers you too terribly. Sure, you can comment below and tell me how stupid I am, but it probably won't make me a better person. Or will it...?

description

I've always wondered what the real Frankenstein story was like...and now I know.
Sadly, sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality.
And the reality is, this book is a big steaming pile of poo.

It's an old-timey horror story, right?
Not so much.
I mean, I wasn't expecting it to actually be scary, but I thought it might be slightly creepy. Unfortunately, the only horror in the story centered around me having to keep turning the pages.
Unless...
Beware mortal! You will DIE of boredom! Oooga-Booga-Booga!
Yep. Truly frightening.

description

It starts like this:
An upper-crust guy sails off to the Arctic to make discoveries, and to pass the time he writes to his sister. Supposedly, he's been sailing around on whaling ships for several years. And he's been proven an invaluable resource by other captains.
So I'm assuming he's a pretty crusty ol' sailor at this point.
Pay attention, because this is where Shelly proves that she knows nothing about men...
So this guy goes on and on in these letters to his sister about how he wishes on every star that he could find a BFF at sea. After a few (too many) letters, they pull a half-frozen Frankensicle out of the water.
Aaaaand here's what our salty sea dog has to say about the waterlogged mad scientist...
"Blah, blah, blah...his full-toned voice swells in my ears; his lustrous eyes dwell on me with all their melancholy sweetness...blah, blah, blah..."
Lustrous eyes?! No (straight) sailor ever, in the history of the world, EVER referred to another dude's eyes as lustrous.
Ever.
And I know what you're thinking.
Well, Anne, maybe this character was gay. Didn't think about that, didja?!
Actually, yes. Yes, I did.
The only problem with that theory is that NONE of the male characters in this book sounded remotely male.
Ladies, do you remember that time in your life (probably around middle or high school), when you thought that guys actually had the same sort of thought waves running through their heads that we do? You know, before you realized that the really don't care about...well, all of the things that we do? You thought that while they were laughing at the booger their idiot friend just flicked across the room, something deeper was stirring in their mind. It just had to be!
I'm not sure when it happens, but at some point, every woman finally realizes the (fairly obvious) truth.
Men aren't women.
That booger was the funniest thing ever, and nothing was stirring around in them other than maybe some gas.
And that's ok.
Fart-lighting and long distance loogie hawking contests aside, they can pretty darn cool.
But this author was too young to realize that.
My personal opinion is that Mary was probably fairly sheltered when it came to real men. She was a teenage girl apparently running around with a bunch of artsy-fartsy dudes. Much like today, I would imagine these junior emos were probably blowing poetic smoke up her young ass in the high hopes of getting into her pants.
Although it's possible I'm totally misreading the situation.

description

Anyway, Frank tells his story, and Sea Dog writes it all down for his sister.
In excruciating detail.
Rivers, flowers, rocks, mountain tops...agonizingly cataloged. And the weather? God forbid a breeze blows through the story without at least a paragraph devoted to the way it felt on his skin or affected his mood!
And speaking of Frankenstein's mood.
I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of reading about a character this spineless before. What a pussy! He didn't talk so much as he whined.
And the swooning!
He was like one of those freaking Fainting Goats!
I can't even count how many times he blacked out and fell over. Of course, then he would get feverish and need "a period of convalescence" to recover.
Again, every episode was recounted with incredible attention to detail.
I'm thrilled that I never had to miss a moment of his sweaty brow getting daubed with water!

Randomly Inserted Fun Fact:
The monster quoted Milton in Paradise Lost.
Shockingly, I only know this because it was in the appendix, and not because I have any real-life experience with reading that one.

description

Was this the most painfully unnecessary book I've read this year?
Yes.
Is there a deeper moral to this story?
Yes.
Some would say, that the monster is a product of a society that refuses to accept someone who is different. Or maybe that Victor Frankenstein was the real monster for not realizing that he had a duty to parent and care for his creation? Perhaps it is meant to point out our obsession with perfection, and our willingness to disregard people who don't meet the standards of beauty as non-human?
Some might say any of those things.
I , however, learned a far different lesson from Frankenstein.
And it's this...
Trust no one.
Not even someone who (just an example) has been your Best Friend for decades!
Let's read a classic, Anne. It'll be fun, Anne. We can call each other with updates, Anne. It'll be just like a book club, Anne. Tee-hee!
Liar, liar! Pants on fire!
I read this whole God-awful book, and you quit after 10 pages!
I'm telling your mom!

Anyway.
Here's the quote that sums up my experience with Frankenstein:

"Blah, blah, blah...in all the misery I imagined and dreaded, I did not conceive the hundredth part of the anguish I was destined to endure."

description
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Reading Progress

March 11, 2014 – Started Reading
March 11, 2014 – Shelved
March 23, 2014 –
page 89
37.24% "This book is booooooring."
March 26, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 788 (788 new)


message 1: by Mike (new) - rated it 1 star

Mike Boooooooooooooooooring. You bet. Like a lumbering oaf of an overstuffed bunch of words, signifying only how terribly little the privileged girl who wrote it really knew.


message 2: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne So far I'm enjoying how all of the male characters sound like moody schoolgirls.


message 3: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam Quixote "This book is booooooring."

Hahaha, YUP.


Jason Koivu Loved the review, Anne! And I really liked the warning at the beginning. I've been getting complaint comments from the humorless about my 1 star review of this. It's like fans of the book want to school me on its hidden excellence. Why? Do they think I'll suddenly come to the conclusion that my own opinion is invalid? I think it's a poorly executed book. Another person's love for it isn't going to change that!


message 5: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne 'Hidden' excellence is a great way to put it, Jason. I figured since it was considered classic, my review had the potential to attract a few humorless intellectual trolls. Sorry you had to deal with them. Kidding...I think that's hilarious!


message 6: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam Quixote It’s been a few years since I read this but I think the Paradise Lost reference in the book ties into the meaning behind the story - the fall of man, creator and man, etc. There’s lots of other ideas going on too – the subtitle, The Modern Prometheus, for example, with Frankenstein playing with fire/forbidden knowledge. It could also be read as a manifestation of real fears of the time where bodies were being dug up to be studied by unscrupulous doctors – those who dug up bodies were called “resurrection men”. A lot of 19th century monsters were manifestations of contemporary fears – Dracula symbolised rampant sexual disease, Mr Hyde was substance abuse, and so on.

But you’re right, it is written in an insufferable way. You could put it down to this being Shelley’s first novel or that she was still a teenager, but it’s still a chore to get through.


message 7: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne The story itself is about 25 pages long, and isn't really bad. It's all the freaking filler that sucks the life out of you!


Jeff Good stuff, Anne!

I remember when they assigned this to my son for school. He was so excited, then he started reading it...


message 9: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Oh! Poor thing! Some things you just can't unlearn...


Jeff I think it was at this point we started homeschooling him.


message 11: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Can't blame you there. Some of the things these kids are asked to read boggles my mind. How are they ever going to learn to love literature if this dusty garbage keeps getting shoved down their throats?


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I actually liked this one :) but your review still made me laugh and look at it in a different light, so thanks. Proof that opinions can alter a perspective


message 13: by Leo (new) - added it

Leo Pfff, this is one of the few books I haven't finished. It took ages to get to the interesting part, which of course is the part I didn't read.

Funny review, by the way.


message 14: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Kat wrote: "I actually liked this one :) but your review still made me laugh and look at it in a different light, so thanks. Proof that opinions can alter a perspective"

Thanks for being cool with different opinions, Kat. It's what makes it fun, right?


message 15: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne martinyfelix wrote: "Pfff, this is one of the few books I haven't finished. It took ages to get to the interesting part, which of course is the part I didn't read.

Funny review, by the way."


To be honest, I didn't think there was any one particularly interesting part. There were just parts that were easier to digest, because something was actually happening...other than Victor fainting, whining, or looking at the 'great beauty' of nature.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Anne wrote: "Kat wrote: "I actually liked this one :) but your review still made me laugh and look at it in a different light, so thanks. Proof that opinions can alter a perspective"

Thanks for being cool with..."


Oh yeah, I love reading about people's opinions. It makes me think that maybe I should read it over again and see if anything changes for me. People make different connections and it's good to see that. Plus, a few laughs couldn't hurt :D


message 17: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Yes, this one is a laugh a minute. lol! When did you last read this?


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Anne wrote: "Yes, this one is a laugh a minute. lol! When did you last read this?"

Probably high school, so I bet a reread it probably in order. Maybe my feels will change :)


message 19: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Ha! $10 says you'll have a change of heart if you do. Never reread anything you loved when you were younger!


Jeff Anne wrote: "Ha! $10 says you'll have a change of heart if you do. Never reread anything you loved when you were younger!"

This includes anything by J.D. Salinger.


message 21: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne I'm terribly afraid to touch A Wrinkle in Time. I must have read that one a hundred times when I was in middle school. I think I'd rather keep the good memories...


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Anne wrote: "Ha! $10 says you'll have a change of heart if you do. Never reread anything you loved when you were younger!"

Hah, maybe I shouldn't and just keep the good memories :)


message 23: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne For what it's worth, that's my advice. Remember how you felt when you looked back at a yearbook picture of your 'hot' first boyfriend...and then realized the dude had a mullet or something?
You can never go back.


Gary Mary Shelley, like her husband Percy Bysshe Shelly, wrote for a different era.


message 25: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne I still find it hard to believe that people were that much different at their core, than we are now. Although, I've been wrong once or twice. Maybe three times? Yeah. Three times, tops!


Gary Anne wrote: "I still find it hard to believe that people were that much different at their core, than we are now. Although, I've been wrong once or twice. Maybe three times? Yeah. Three times, tops!"

Much of what seems so dry is the way they spoke back then. Look at The Time Machine, for example. Frankenstein is interesting from a philosophical perspective if you're into that sort of thing, but not so much from an entertainment viewpoint which is what we look for here.
It's hard now to believe that the Romantics were like the rock stars of their era.


message 27: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam Quixote It’s not that hard to believe – they wrote poems that were read by all levels of society and made them famous, they were constantly gossiped about for their scandalous behaviour, sleeping around like crazy, having groupies, ingesting large amounts of booze and drugs, getting involved in revolutions, having progressive mind-sets, dying young. The Romantics were an interesting bunch!


Gary Sam wrote: "It’s not that hard to believe – they wrote poems that were read by all levels of society and made them famous, they were constantly gossiped about for their scandalous behaviour, sleeping around li..."

I am a big Lord Byron fan myself and I liked Shelley's "Ozymandias".


message 29: by Jason (new) - rated it 1 star

Jason Koivu Sam wrote: "It’s not that hard to believe – they wrote poems that were read by all levels of society and made them famous, they were constantly gossiped about for their scandalous behaviour, sleeping around li..."

Don't forget the copious STDs!


message 30: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Alright, I'll give you that they used different phrases, even different syntax. But I'm calling bullshit on the rest of it. It would be like someone 100 years from now looking at Bill and Ted Excellent Adventure, and assuming that we all sounded like those guys back in the 80's. Or (God forbid) that we all act like the losers on Jersey Shore.
What's really hard to believe isn't that the Romantics were considered rock stars, it's the people we consider rock stars now.
But you're right, entertainment value isn't why people read Frankenstein.
I'm never going to 'better' myself at this rate...


message 31: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Jason wrote: "Sam wrote: "It’s not that hard to believe – they wrote poems that were read by all levels of society and made them famous, they were constantly gossiped about for their scandalous behaviour, sleepi..."

STDs...the gift that keeps on giving.


message 32: by Jeff (last edited Mar 26, 2014 07:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Anne wrote: "Alright, I'll give you that they used different phrases, even different syntax. But I'm calling bullshit on the rest of it. It would be like someone 100 years from now looking at Bill and Ted Excel..."

Heroin, oral sex in alleyways, gothic literature, STDs...Damn, Anne your on a magnificent roll today. (Bows)


message 33: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Well, when you put it that way I sound like some sort of degenerate.
Yes! Finally, all my dreams have come true!


Jeff Well, when you put it that way I sound like some sort of degenerate.

And this is bad because...?


message 35: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Ward I thought James Smythe's The Machine by James Smythe was very good. It is kind of like a modern day Frankenstein and is shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke award this year.


message 36: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Jeff wrote: "Well, when you put it that way I sound like some sort of degenerate.

And this is bad because...?"


Well. I guess as long as my surrounding soccer moms never find out...


message 37: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Timothy wrote: "I thought James Smythe's The Machine by James Smythe was very good. It is kind of like a modern day Frankenstein and is shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke award this year."

I just added it, thanks for the recommendation!


Gary Anne wrote: "Alright, I'll give you that they used different phrases, even different syntax. But I'm calling bullshit on the rest of it. It would be like someone 100 years from now looking at Bill and Ted Excel..."

Frankenstein appealed to them back then and was popular. I also enjoy graphic novels/comics and I can see where, from that perspective or in comparison to Bill and Ted (which I also liked), it wouldn't seem to make sense though.
I like the book. For example, I find the man/God dichotomy in Frankenstein interesting in relation to what the Shelleys were experiencing socially and politically.
I did note on the reviews, however, that there are people here that enjoyed this novel for the sake of the story as well so it is, like most things, a matter of personal preference.


message 39: by Mike (new) - rated it 1 star

Mike Maybe in an era where the only books you had available to entertain you were the King James and a little Shakespeare or Dickens, this might've been considered groundbreaking. It's like if you'd never read any comics and your only available exposure was Jeph Loeb or Dan DiDio or Mark Millar or Alan Moore :) Of course you'd think this was the shit (looking back on some of my earliest comics reviews, that's exactly what delusions of early minimal comparison I was under - it's a wonder of miracles that Ellis & Ennis were among my first re-introductions to comics, or I might be a very sheltered and weakly critical guy even now).

And Jeff mentioned Salinger? Hah, I was a right bastard when they assigned that to me in high school. While the rest of my 'gifted' (aka 'weirdos') class lapped it up, I took such a strong dislike to CitR that the essay I wrote on it was entitled "Why I Hate The Catcher in the Rye". I'd love to find that and post it verbatim as a Goodreads review - it's probably awful, precocious and indulgent, but then any of my scathing reviews here could be accused of the same no?


message 40: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne You're right, Gary. Personal preference plays a huge role in every book we read. I loved quite a few books that massive amounts of friends DNF'd or gave low ratings to. It's all good, and most of us on here love to debate for the sake of...debating? I like to hear different opinions on books (like yours), but I might have a teensy competitive streak in me that wants to convince everyone to see things my way. I hope I didn't offend, it's all in fun.


Gary Anne wrote: "You're right, Gary. Personal preference plays a huge role in every book we read. I loved quite a few books that massive amounts of friends DNF'd or gave low ratings to. It's all good, and most of u..."

Not at all. I enjoy reading your reviews and seeing your perspective. I also like to hear other opinions and your reviews are well written and informative. I especially like your graphic novel reviews. For example, I am looking forward to reading Aquaman which is a title I hadn't thought about in a long time.


message 42: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Mike wrote: "Maybe in an era where the only books you had available to entertain you were the King James and a little Shakespeare or Dickens, this might've been considered groundbreaking. It's like if you'd nev..."

Loeb, Millar, and Moore. The Holy Trinity of graphic novels. Dude, the hoity-toity fanboys are coming after you...you know that, right? One word. Starts with an M, ends with an L. Don't go there! The power 'it' exudes is nothing to be scoffed at!


message 43: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam Quixote "most of us on here love to debate for the sake of...debating?"

Some of us debate so much you could say we’re master debaters…


message 44: by Gary (last edited Mar 26, 2014 08:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary Anne wrote: "Mike wrote: "Maybe in an era where the only books you had available to entertain you were the King James and a little Shakespeare or Dickens, this might've been considered groundbreaking. It's like..."

Moore is awesome. Weird and awesome at the same time.


message 45: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne I'll be interested in what you think of Aquaman, Gary. Mike here, read it on my urging, hated it, then threw me under the bus. I've still got the tire tracks on my back to prove it.
Personal preference, my ass...
Aquaman rules!



message 46: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Sam wrote: ""most of us on here love to debate for the sake of...debating?"

Some of us debate so much you could say we’re master debaters…"


These threads do tend to take on a life of their own. Papa Johns Pizza cult will forever remain one of my favorite 'Great Debates'.


Gary Anne wrote: "I'll be interested in what you think of Aquaman, Gary. Mike here, read it on my urging, hated it, then threw me under the bus. I've still got the tire tracks on my back to prove it.
Personal prefer..."


I think the episode of The Big Bang Theory where Raj wore the Aquaman wig and they called him the lamest superhero ever didn't help the cause.


message 48: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne Yes, Hilarious! But not really helpful while I'm trying to get new recruits to sign up...


message 49: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 26, 2014 08:57AM) (new)

Gary wrote: "Anne wrote: "I'll be interested in what you think of Aquaman, Gary. Mike here, read it on my urging, hated it, then threw me under the bus. I've still got the tire tracks on my back to prove it.
Pe..."


Anne wrote: "For what it's worth, that's my advice. Remember how you felt when you looked back at a yearbook picture of your 'hot' first boyfriend...and then realized the dude had a mullet or something?
You ca..."



You guys make me smile, seriously. You go from Frankenstein to mullets to Catcher in the Rye to Aquaman (who, I automatically thought was a lame superhero because of that episode and because well...he's aquaman), but I do like your reviews and this convo is priceless.


message 50: by Anne (new) - rated it 1 star

Anne I know, right? How the hell did this turn into a thread about Aquaman wigs?!


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