Frankenstein – Reviewed

FrankensteinFrankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A true classic. I picked this up on a whim from the library, as they didn’t have the book I actually wanted. I had seen the film about a decade ago and I was a little weary, whether they’d be similar. It was nothing like the films. Now I finally know the origins of “Bride of Frankenstein”.

It opens with a brilliant hook but then starts off a little slowly. However by the middle of the first volume, once all the background is out of the way, it becomes a real page turner. Curiously much of the tropes of the monster’s animation are notably absent from the text e.g. lightning. Though it may be argued that they are mentioned in earlier editions. If you really read between the lines you may find justification for them.

Victor somewhat sidesteps the issue about the secret of life creation, which feels like a bit of a cop out. But it’s probably a wise move as it leaves an air of mystery but also is justified later on. The classical Halloween monster look of the fiend is an awful caricature. Extensive description of the beast is notably absent, the reader only has a gigantic deformed mummy to play with. So I’m not sure where this stereotype came from. Probably one of the early movies exercising poetic license.

I liked how there were stories within stories. The book was easy enough to read. I did feel a lot of empathy for the beast and drew parallels with radicalised islamists. The beast is a lot more eloquent than the movies lead you to believe. I do feel Victor could have made a few different choices and am tempted to write some fanfiction about it. The rough notes of which are outlined below, best not to read on if you haven’t read the book.

So I’m assuming Victor has blinded by rage and couldn’t think correctly. Otherwise he could have set various traps to kill him. It’d be a lot more effective than simply pursuing him.

Make a fake bride for the monster. Set up a camouflaged pit filled with a flammable liquid. Lure him to the pit to claim his mate. Once he falls in, ignite the liquid, using his weakness of heat to defeat him.

If Victor wanted to carry on pursuing him, try flaming arrows to reach him. Though not really possible with respect to the range.

Victor should have faked his own death. At least then the beast would be within striking distance.

The fiend threatened to be with Victor on his wedding night. He should have never let Elizabeth out of his sight. He should have made a fake Elizabeth and stood her up in the bedroom. With the real one taking shelter. As he waited for the monster to appear, hiding in a cupboard, he would jump out dual wielding pistols and making the monster into Swiss-cheese by sheer volume of bullets. Then whip out the shotgun to defenestrate him. At ground level, shoot it in the brain for good measure.

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