Book Review

Frankenstein (1818) Review


Frankenstein. A young woman’s tale of science run amok. The academics may praise it. They may find various themes strewn throughout and draw various conclusions from a single one. Between the pages of Mary Shelley’s famous novel, they could interpret every line into an analysis work of their own, full of stuffy pretentiousness. It’s a good thing, for both you and I, I’m not one of those. I also didn’t care for the novel. I wouldn’t say it’s a deep hatred, but I didn’t enjoy Frankenstein.

Why would I keep reading a novel I didn’t enjoy? I’ve stopped reading several books this year once it became clear I couldn’t continue. Frankenstein is a special case. It’s a classic, or so they say. I had to read it once for a college class, but since I didn’t want to be there at the time I didn’t. I felt compelled to read it, finish it, and see for myself what the big deal is. There’s also the bonus of reviewing the novel, along with watching the many film versions.

Ah, the film versions. From “King” Karloff, to Christopher Lee, to Robert De Niro, and all points between. There’s also two good documentaries the History Channel used to air before making the switch to more reality programming. I enjoy the story of Frankenstein’s creation. Not the creature, the novel. One documentary is a History’s Mysteries, and the next is In Search of the Real Frankenstein. I also prefer the story told in the films. The mad scientist with a deformed assistant. A bunch of cool looking machines in an old castle laboratory with even cooler lightning. A monster with no thoughts, speech, or soul. The film versions, or the few I’ve seen, don’t follow Mary Shelley’s original.

Frankenstein reads a bit clunky to a modern audience. It’s expected. A time or two the language got in the way. The main hindrance was the story itself. The story presented in the novel isn’t very intriguing. It’s a boring tale with boring characters. I couldn’t get into the story, or find one character appealing.

If you think you know Frankenstein, the novel, from a film, chances are you don’t. I wouldn’t recommend watching one to pass a literature test. The novel to film makes for a good comparison study. There might be a film version of Frankenstein I’d call a classic, but not the novel.

Copyright © Drew Martin 2016


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